CSH has been involved in a great project with Central Bedfordshire to engage both the countryside access and health teams. We have helped develop robust health monitoring systems which will be evaluated by a newly established steering group. These will be used to determine the health benefits of taking part in exercise in nature. Part of the work involved reviewing the area’s health priorities and identifying existing green space projects which could be used to engage target health groups in the local population.
Encouraging more people to take exercise in green space could improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities. We have helped Bedfordshire to establish a number of pilot sites in the borough including a health walk and a green space redevelopment project. These will focus on meeting local health needs and trial various different methodology used to assess health outcomes. An assessment will be undertaken to determine the success of the pilot sites in terms of whether participants experienced health benefits. In addition, the methodology used to assess these health benefits will be evaluated. It is hoped that these case studies will encourage more nature and wellbeing projects to be established throughout Central Bedfordshire.
We have also created a GP 1 pager to engage local doctors to consider green prescriptions. The document can be accessed here and contains a summary of the relevant evidence available demonstrating the physical and mental health benefits of exercising in green space.