Nature Walks: Why Doctors Recommend Them?

During the first few days of April 2022, roughly two dozen children and their families gathered under the redwoods in a park near Oakland, California.

In an ancient grove of giants, they discussed fairy rings with Dr. Nooshin Razani, the phenomenon caused by the cutting down of a parent tree.

Center for Nature and Health takes pediatric patients who live in areas with little availability of nature-on excursions to local parks each month with park staff.

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The program is part of the growing trend of “park prescriptions,” which have grown in popularity and studies on nature’s health benefits.

Physicians urge patients to spend more time outside to improve their mental and physical health in these programs.

Razani says, “It’s pretty clear that it’s good for you.”

Studies suggest that spending time in nature can improve mental health and reduce the risk of physical health conditions, such as heart disease.

No doctor recommends visiting the park instead of prescribing anxiety medications. Nevertheless, a few minutes in nature can benefit health.

An Overview Of Park Prescriptions

Doctors and other healthcare professionals can encourage patients by prescribing nature prescriptions, and there are many types of these types of programs.

In 2013, “ParkRx” launched one of the country’s first park prescription programs with guides, tools, and case studies to help get patients outside.

Nature prescribing is also widespread abroad. In collaboration with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland and NHS, doctors in Scotland began writing nature prescriptions in 2017.

How Nature Improves Health

A closer connection to nature can be beneficial for everyone’s health. However, not everyone has access to it.

A positive experience in nature may alleviate stress and reduce cognitive fatigue, improving health.

In numerous studies, spending time in nature has improved mental and physical health.

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Future Research

There is still much to learn about how nature affects our health.

Several studies have found that anxiety and depression are related to trends in general populations rather than within specific groups.