The health benefits of walking and nature are something special – Steve Cardownie

It was interesting to read in yesterday’s Evening News about a trial which entailed GPs in Edinburgh prescribing nature as a treatment and which has been so successful that 87 per cent of patients said that they will continue to use it to help their health and well-being.

Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 4:55 am
There is much to be said for going for a regular walk in a natural setting (Picture: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
There is much to be said for going for a regular walk in a natural setting (Picture: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Nearly 350 patients were prescribed nature as part of treatment for 32 different health conditions and it has been reported that this technique should be part of every health care professional’s toolkit in the future.

When I wore the clothes of a younger man (to quote Billy Joel), my days were largely taken up with playing football or training for and running in, half-marathons, which were obviously outdoor pursuits.

Now that my silky fitba’ skills and running a 13-mile race are a thing of the past, I have found that walking offers me a reasonable substitute.

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As a dog owner I have discovered the pleasures of walking along Portobello beach or around Arthur’s Seat, as well as other beauty spots dotted throughout the city. Walking through city streets or meandering around Leith is also therapeutic and, time permitting, I try to undertake at least one hour’s walk every day.

When referring to the trial, Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation spokesman, Ian Mackenzie, said: “In urban areas, such as Edinburgh, we often overlook the nature on our doorstep and this has been a great way for people to explore how nature can make us both healthier and happier.”

I’ve found that the benefit derived from taking a regular walk cannot be understated and I highly recommend it.

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