Patients could benefit from outdoor activity as part of treatment, says group
The Parks' Alliance (TPA), which lobbies on behalf of UK parks, has called for a clinical trial into the benefits of GPs prescribing physical activity in green space as part of their treatment of patients with mental and physical concerns.
This comes in response to the Government's New Strategy for Sport consultation document, published in July. TPA believes that participation in sport and other physical activity can improve both mental and physical health, promote personal growth and support social cohesion, and that parks and 'green prescribing' can play a key role in this.
TPA chairman Mark Camley said: ‘We all know there is an obesity crisis in the UK and parks can offer a solution to get more people active. Public parks have always played a key role in sport with football pitches and tennis courts in public parks providing an outlet for generations of young people.'
He continued: ‘There are always new ways of engaging the young, for instance, park-wide wi-fi in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London has encouraged young adults to visit the park and as a result benefit from hidden, informal exercise. The Park, working with Intelligent Health on a mobile phone based initiative called Beat the Streets, has encouraged participants – largely school children – to tap into smart meters and gain points for walking between different points in the park. The scheme is seeing over 1,000 miles per day walked by participants.’