Getting out to pleasant parks and beautiful countryside is good for our health. It is what we find in our everyday experience. It is the homespun wisdom of decades of suburban families. Two and a half thousand years ago Hippocrates entitled his classic work on medicine "Airs, Waters and Places", because the quality of our environment greatly affects our health. Two days ago the Government published an open consultation document recognising the outdoors as a way to 'help us grow our health asset' and to promote both physical and mental health.

Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s asks a range of questions about prevention and health protection: none specifically about green spaces, but several open to the answer that we need to protect the quality of both natural and built environment. You can respond on line at the link.

Duke of Edinburgh nature conservation volunteering
Not just cutting back the hedge but also promoting health!

Extracts from the consultation document.

The outdoors can also help us grow our health asset. For example, evidence shows that spending time in the natural environment can improve our mental health and wellbeing. It can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, and encourage physical activity which in itself contributes to better mental health.

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We also need to invest in the protective factors that can act as a strong foundation for good mental health throughout our lives, such as strong attachments in childhood, living in a safe and secure home, access to good quality green spaces, security of income, and a strong set of social connections.

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Evidence shows that spending time in the natural environment can improve our mental health and wellbeing, so in the 25 Year Environment Plan, published in 2018, the government sets out its aim to connect people more systematically with green space to improve mental health, using the natural environment as a resource for preventative and therapeutic purposes.