Doctors Can Now “Prescribe” National Park Passes in Canada
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The New National Parks Program in Canada
Taking a simple walk each day helps to keep the doctor away. A new program launched in January 2022 in Canada allows some doctors to “prescribe” a free yearly ticket to Canada’s national parks to patients to inspire people to obtain the evidence-based benefits of nature.
It is called PaRx, and any licensed healthcare provider is allowed to prescribe nature passes through this initiative.
The charity has cooperated with Parks Canada to offer doctors in four Canadian provinces, starting with 100 annual passes, said the Washington Post.
With the free access to the Canadian parks, people will be asked to plan at least 2 hours per week in nature, with a minimum of 20 minutes per session.
It may seem like a simple idea to some, but the suggestion of “ecotherapy” is backed by a fast-growing body of evidence.
Long-Term Nature and Mental Health Studies
Long-term studies have linked access to natural environments in the open air to improve many mental health conditions, including ADHD, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Additionally, the researchers discovered that exposure to nature boosts cognitive flexibility, working memory, and attentional control compared to being in urban settings. Spending lots of time in nature can dramatically benefit our immune system.
Patients who benefit from the positive effects almost certainly come from the adequate exercise that involves going for a walk. However, there seems to be a much deeper connection between nature and our well-being.
Studies show that simply looking at nature’s images or listening to nature’s sounds, such as gently crashing waves or crickets chirping, can add some mood-boosting benefits to your life.
Experiencing the great outdoors is just what the doctor ordered.