Outdoor Activities Combat Mental Health Woes: Research

Monday, 28 Oct 2013 07:10 AM

 

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If you're struggling with stress, anxiety, or worry, get back to nature, advise British health experts.
 
The mental health charity Mind just released a report showing scientifically backed findings on the mental health benefits of "ecotherapy" - programs designed to promote well-being through outdoor activities in nature, such as walking groups or community gardening.

The organization has funded 130 projects in England through an organization called Ecominds, with a reported 69 percent of people experiencing improved mental health through the program.

Mind also surveyed 100 people who took part in "green exercise activities," such as gardening, walking groups, or running, finding that 90 percent of respondents said that the combination of exercise and nature is "most important in determining how they feel."

A separate report released earlier this month from UK charity Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support found that as little as two and half hours of walking or gardening per week can save lives by lowering stress levels and keeping us healthier and happier.

Scientific research also supports walking as good medicine: a recent study in the British Medical Journal found that brisk walking is just as good as taking medication for some health conditions, including heart diseases. Also, a separate study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention revealed that walking at least an hour a day could significantly cut a woman's risk of breast cancer.

© AFP/Relaxnews 2014

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