Naturally Healthy Month
The rapid urbanisation of the world raises concern about chronic human health issues - often linked with less frequent interaction with the natural world. “Nature-deficit disorder,” a nonclinical term coined by Richard Louv, describes this potential impact on the well-being of youth. There is much evidence surrounding the wide benefits of regular access to nature, with wellbeing often significantly improved, including perceived stress, relaxation, positive and negative emotions, sense of wholeness, and transcendence. It has also been evidenced that peoples ability to learn is significantly increased after exposure to natural environments, along with a willingness to lead, perceived safety and sense of place.
Evidence is strongly suggestive of the quality of the outdoor environment being an important factor in encouraging daily exercise and therefore improved health – both mental and physical - and therefore protecting and building high-quality green spaces is critical for our society to thrive.
A Month of Awareness
During the Month of May LNPs and their partners across the South West of England promote the wide benefits of regular access to nature, inviting everyone to get out in the natural environment to help their physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Living in Gloucestershire we are blessed with many opportunities to get outside – from a walk, ride or cycle in the countryside; a wander along a river or canal, a National Trail, or pop to the water park, commons or forest. Most of us will have access to a nearby greenspace or park, a nature reserve, or a garden right on your doorstep. You don't need to do much to absorb yourself in nature and reap the benefits it will bring you. Plus, it’s largely free!
Research from the University of Essex determined that a simple five-minute dose of nature can have a significantly positive effect on self-esteem and mental health. The study looked into over 1250 people, analysing their activities, such as fishing, cycling, horse-riding, walking and gardening. Being Naturally Healthy isn't about changing your entire lifestyle, but simply trying to be more mindful of accessing beautiful natural environments for the benefit of your own health.
Ideas for being #NaturallyHealthy
During the entire month of May you will find lots of suggestions on things to do right across the county being posted on our Twitter feed which you can find and follow here: https://twitter.com/glosnature