Study Finds "Nature Prescriptions" Improve Both Physical And Mental Health

Study Finds "Nature Prescriptions" Improve Both Physical And Mental Health

While spending time in nature often feels good for the soul, there's now research to back that up.

Researchers with the University of New South Wales in Kensington, Australia recently analyzed 28 different studies that tested nature prescriptions (i.e., when health professionals prescribe time in nature).

In the study, titled "Effect of nature prescriptions on cardiometabolic and mental health, and physical activity: a systematic review," researchers found that nature prescriptions improved both physical and mental health.

According to the study, nature prescriptions were found to help reduce blood pressure, alleviate depression and anxiety, and increase daily step count when compared with control groups.

In the study, the authors wrote: "Extensive evidence indicates contact with nature is associated with good social, mental, and physical health. These potential benefits include favourable pregnancy outcomes and improved mental health to reduced risks of cardiometabolic and neurodegenerative diseases in older adults."

In a press release, lead study author Professor Xiaoqi Feng explained:

"The evidence shows that nature prescriptions can help to restore and build capacities for better physical and mental health. What we need now is to work out how to make nature prescriptions happen in a sustained way for those people with high potential to benefit, but who currently spend little time in nature."

The study authors did note that "most studies have a moderate to high risk of bias," and "there is a need for more evidence on this new form of social prescribing." However, the current research we have is quite promising and suggests nature prescription could offer empowering benefits to those who receive and implement them.

You can read the full systematic review here.

Malorie Thompson

Malorie works as a writer and editor in Northern California. She's passionate about food, conscious living, animal welfare, and conservation. She's worked with a variety of publications in different sectors but is happiest covering topics close to her heart. When not at her laptop, Malorie can be found enjoying picnics on the beach, hiking in the redwoods, and spending time with her rescue pup, Jax.

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