Click here to read ukactive’s Blueprint for Going Outdoors

 

Going outdoors

Introduction

The outdoors remains a vast, largely untapped resource in many local communities. Public Health England's Everybody Active, Every Day highlighted the now clear correlation between the amount of high-quality green space in any area and local public health outcomes.  

As the entire health system in the UK moves toward a sustainable, preventative model, it cannot ignore the importance and cost-effectiveness of the great outdoors. Attractive green space has the potential to encourage even the most inactive groups to venture outside and receive the powerful health benefits that entails. 

 

Policy recommendations

 

1.       Readily available, high quality green space in a local community can have a substantial impact on the amount of physical activity of a local population. Local authorities and government have a responsibility to ensure every local community around the country has green spaces that communities can harness to inspire greater amounts of activity.

-          Any national physical activity strategy must include specific provisions to protect green spaces that are well-utilised for activity opportunities and encourage more people to venture outdoors.

-          Turning the Tide of Inactivity highlighted that sheer amounts of green space is not an accurate indicator of activity levels. Local authorities should ensure the usable green space in their area is kept to a high-quality and is easily accessible to inspire as many people as possible to be active.

-          Local authorities should work with local activity and leisure providers and the private sector to explore innovative ways to use green space, including programmed activity sessions and community well-being initiatives that make use of the great outdoors to get more people active. As part of this process, it is crucial that programmed activity delivered in parks that come under local authority regulation are licensed by an agreed  Code of Practice that covers their safe and professional use.

 

2.       Evidence is increasingly demonstrating the powerful medicinal effect green space can have on improving health and well-being.

-          The Department of Health and Public Health England, in conjunction with CCGs, should recognise the importance of combining outdoor exercise and physical activity - particularly in green spaces - when seeking to treat lifestyle-related diseases and mental health problems. This includes underutilised open space such as woodlands and reservoirs.

 

Endorsement

"We fully support ukactive's Blueprint for an Active Britain and are excited to be working closely with ukactive on this and other projects. The Outdoor Industries Association is a not-for-profit collective with a mission to 'Get Britain Active Outdoors' so this agenda couldn't be a better fit for us."
Andrew Denton, Chief Executive, Outdoor Industries Association

 


Faculty of Public Health, Great Outdoors: How Our Natural Health Service Uses Green Space To Improve Well-being: Briefing Statement, (2010), , [accessed 25/09/15]

Mind, Ecotherapy - The green agenda for mental health, (May 2007), < http://www.mind.org.uk/media/211252/Ecotherapy_The_green_agenda_for_mental_health_Executive_summary.pdf> , [accessed 25/09/15]

 

Click here to read ukactive’s Blueprint for Going Outdoors

 
Lets Get Moving