ABOUT NATURE WELLBEING
Connecting with nature and being active outdoors improves people's health and wellbeing.
The COVID pandemic has shown how more people have valued and used their outdoor spaces to relax and to exercise. It has also highlighted the importance of being outdoors to people’s mental and physical health, as well as the inequality of access to green space.
The benefits and positive outcomes include weight management, preventing chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, and improving mental health by reducing stress and anxiety.
Communal activities can also promote and create social connections with others which again supports and enhances our wellbeing.
All of these benefits can be enjoyed simply people becoming more active in the outdoors. Sometimes, all is needed is for people to be sufficiently interested and motivated to get out there, but also to be informed about the activities and places they can go to.
Promoting and signposting people to these places for activities, such as mindfulness in nature, habitat restoration, bird watching, or simply walking is sometimes called 'green social prescribing' and we are seeking to encourage that.
In addition, there is also a great opportunity for GPs and primary care services to directly refer people to these working with providers of activities to support patients.
We are undertaking a pilot project in conjunction with GP surgeries in Caerphilly CBC area where a cohort of appropriately selected participants are prescribed outdoor activities for to support and enhance mental and physical health.
This will provide the basis for developing a wider initiative, with a strong evidence base, for ensuring green spaces in the area support and strengthen residents’ wellbeing in a mutually beneficial fashion.