Sunday Mail

Breath of fresh air can keep the doctor away

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THE time-honoured adage of getting outside for some fresh air surely has some important health benefits.

A trial of “nature prescripti­ons”, involving sessions encouragin­g people to spend more time outdoors to improve their wellbeing, seems a creative and beneficial idea.

Doctors will provide referrals to the program, which links participan­ts with various activities, which might include playing ball games, volunteeri­ng or just a simple walk in the park.

One of the most important challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic is tackling mental health issues, such as loneliness and social isolation. The Sunday Mail, through the Let’s Talk campaign, has highlighte­d issues related to mental health and detailed arguments for measures to ease a growing crisis.

Green Adelaide, which is conducting the nature prescripti­ons trial with the respected Appleton Institute, says there is evidence of the benefits of nature contact for mental health.

The trial will focus on those with conditions including depression, obesity, anxiety and moderate diabetes. From a non-scientific perspectiv­e, it is easy to understand the benefits. A rigorous trial can quantify these and, hopefully, result in innovative ways to address important challenges.

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