Doctors Prescribe Hiking in National Parks

If you're reading this, you likely know firsthand that going for a hike or walk in nature has a positive impact on your mood and health. You just feel better after being active outdoors, better than if you'd hit the treadmill or stairmaster at the gym.

Exercise, particularly exercise outdoors, lowers stress levels and blood pressure, helps us maintain a healthy weight, and improves concentration and well-being, among many other mental and physical health benefits. It also connects us with nature.

As the positive nature-health connection gains support in medical studies, some doctors have started writing prescriptions to take a walk, hike, bicycle, or kayak in a national or local park.

National parks (like Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area), local organizations, and healthcare providers have launched Park Prescriptions, a health-promotion program in which providers prescribe contact with nature as a treatment for various conditions and encourage patients to take advantage of their parks.

Who among us wouldn't love a prescription from our doctor to go hiking? No word yet on whether insurance companies have gotten on board.

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1,711 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
July 4, 2011 at 10:47 p.m. (EDT)

Finally a valid excuse. :)

0 reviewer rep
1,341 forum posts
July 5, 2011 at 9:24 p.m. (EDT)

So, can one tell their boss that they have a prescription that will prevent them from coming to work today?  ;-}>

280 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts
July 7, 2011 at 2:10 p.m. (EDT)

Watch out for your health on Yellowstone, maybe wear some bells and take bear spray.

2 reviewer rep
169 forum posts
July 7, 2011 at 6:16 p.m. (EDT)

Reminds me of Dr. Paul Dudley White of Harvard . When I was a child in the 50's, he would be featured in the newspapers and weekly publications advocating the active lifestyle to prevent cornorary disease.

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