Towering trees line the well-defined path in front of you. Crisp mountain air drifts across your face, bringing a warm rosy glow to your cheeks. Seeming just out of reach, an expansive mountain soars high into the sky reminding you of how vast of a world we live in. That feeling is what doctors may be striving for.
Dr. Melissa Lem, a Physician and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia is introducing Canada’s first evidence-based nature prescription program called PaRx: A Prescription for Nature. Your doctor could very soon be prescribing you time outdoors to remedy a myriad of physical and mental health diagnoses.
Dr. Lem who has been researching the connection between health & nature for over a decade (1) says "I think we should really see nature as the fourth pillar of health." Research has shown that the amount of time spent in nature can have a direct effect on hypertension, cardiovascular disease, pre-term births, mental health outcomes, and more (2). But what is the ideal amount of time to have an effect? Dr. Lem says the recommendation based on studies, found that individuals who spent a minimum of two hours in nature per week reported significantly better health than those who didn’t (2).
(1) City News, Doctors could soon be prescribing you spend more time outdoors as part of new pilot program, Nov 30, 2020. https://www-citynews1130-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.citynews1130.com/2020/11/30/doctors-prescribing-time-outdoors/amp/
(2) PaRx: A Prescription for Nature. Accessed Jan 26, 2020. https://www.parkprescriptions.ca/