The Green Prescription
What's it all about?
Health professional's have began prescribing patients with advice on how to be more physically active. So, instead of going to your GP and being given a handful of pills, you may be prescribed to go outside on a weekly group walk or get involved in a local conservation project.
There are a lot of benefits to be outside in green spaces. It's shown to decrease tension, stress and depression, lower blood pressure and help improve the immune system. Now a day, we spend most of our time staring at screens - TVs, tablets, mobiles - which are all sedentary activities. It's important to put electronics down and enjoy the fresh air. Why not get off the bus a stop early and walk a little? Or skip the lift, take the stairs! Get your blood flowing and your heart beat pumping.
To make sure you don't fall back into old habits, make the exercise fun and sociable. Go for a walk and end it with a cup of tea at the end or a pint! Get your friends and family involved and motivate each other to go out for countryside walks or, for your next family outing, why not go skating or play a football game? Try making exercise a fun part of your life, not a chore or an add-on.
How does it work?
Your GP will provide you with activity options and resources, together you'll then set goals that you'd like to achieve and ones your GP think are appropriate. A support person will be assigned to you that will call you on a monthly basis, give face to face meetings, and group support in a community setting for 3-6 months.
Research undertaken by Dr. Raina Elley and Waikato general practices, published in the British Medical Journal, indicated that the Green Prescription increases physical activity levels and improves quality of life over 12 months. They also found that for every 10 prescriptions given, one person achieved and sustained 150 minutes of moderate or vigorous leisure activity. This meant that they decreased their risk of mortality by 20-30%, compared to sedentary individuals. This is big news, considering studies on life expectancy show that lack of exercise is now only second to smoking as a cause of premature death.
It's never too late to start. Make exercise apart of your life now.