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Research supporting us to be active outdoors

Submitted by Tashi on Wed, 12/06/2019 - 15:24

1. Exercise the mind, body and soul

A report by the University of East Anglia (https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/-/it-s-official-spending-time-outside-is-good-for-you ) found that exposure to greenspace reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress and high blood pressure. Populations with higher greenspace exposure were also found to be more likely to have overall good health. In the UK, 11.7 million working days are lost annually due to stress, depression or anxiety, therefore the findings of this study are incredibly important to our long term health.

Another study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26558610) found that visual exposure to natural environments can decrease impulsive decision making. This is interesting as having a walk, cycle or run in the outdoors may mean we are less likely to repeat negative actions – like grabbing that extra yorkie! Check out this great video from British Canoeing which explores how canoeing and kayaking, can provide many people with an escape from everyday life.

Regular exercise is ‘best for mental health’ (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45116607). A large US study has found that regular physical activity lasting 45 minutes three to five times a week can reduce poor mental health, however doing more than this might not always be beneficial. Adults taking part in this study reported 3.4 days of poor mental health per month, which was reduced to only two days following regular exercise!

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2. Statistics to be mindful of..

McVities recently partnered up with the public campaign ‘Time to Change’, (which was launched by leading charities Mind and Rethink), to collect statistics of the UK’s mental health (https://mcvities.co.uk/letstalk). They found that 46% of British Adults often keep their worries and concerns to themselves, with almost a third 30% are too worried about being judged to open up about their worries and concerns. OutdoorLads has recently partnered with ‘Time to Change’ to run a walk in Manchester – check it out here.

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3. Green Prescriptions

Green prescriptions are now being recommended by Local Government Association (LGA), is calling for England and Wales to adopt a similar model New Zealand’s “Green Prescription”, which gets people outdoors (https://www.emersonsgreentreatmentcentre.nhs.uk/news/could-gps-soon-be-writing-a-prescription-for-a-walk/). So even the doctor approves grabbing those wellies and heading outdoors after a stressful week!

New research has found that there is a clear cost of physical inactivity in England at an estimated £8.2 billion per year. In a recent study 63% of patients are more active than they were before they began their green prescription, and 46% lost weight (https://nhsforest.org/sites/default/files/Prescribing%20Green%20Space-3.pdf). Sometimes heading outside can seem like an impossible task, especially if you are feeling particularly low or anxious, but this study showed that being active outside helps us so much more than just reducing the size of our waistlines!

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