"Wildspace can provide both physical and mental health benefits as well as enhancing the enivronment and acting as an educational resource"
The outdoor environment can play many roles in our lives. CONE recognises the great potential for natural greenspace to make us feel good in ourselves.
Working alongside partners, and other agencies, CONE can provide the following services:
- Promoting and assisting with increasing the Borough’s tree cover to encourage a healthier urban environment
- Assisting with the design and implementation of natural landscapes within which people can relax and be at ease
- Providing opportunities for people to access natural greenspace for relaxation purposes
- Providing opportunities for people to undertake physical activity within natural greenspace
- Advice on wildlife gardening
- Advice on how to grow fresh food organically
These services are applicable to many kinds of greenspace whether they be public parks, school grounds, grounds of institutions, roadside verges or the land belonging to businesses.
Benefits to Health
Urban trees and wooded areas not only look good and support a large variety of wildlife but they also improve the air we breathe by trapping sooty particles and absorbing poisonous chemicals. With 1 in 6 children suffering from asthma trees have a vital role to play in the health of people young and old.
Trees also provide shade – reducing the risk of skin cancer, an issue which will be of increasing importance as climate change progresses.
In addition studies have shown that within minutes of entering a natural greenspace stress levels are reduced – blood pressure goes down, the muscles in the brow relax and perspiration decreases. Indeed even a view of greenspace, from an office, school or hospital for example, can have positive psychological and physiological effects, even for those not consciously appreciative.
Taking part in physical activity on green areas can also have a positive effect on health. This can simply involve walking. A brisk 30 minutes walk every day can significantly lower the chances of a heart attack. Access to the kinds of natural greenspace where people can enjoy the changing seasons encourages sustained exercise.
Gardening is the country’s most popular outdoor leisure activity – 85% of households have a garden and people spend on average 6 or 7 hours a week looking after them. Gardening can be both an enjoyable form of exercise and a relaxing activity.
A good diet is a clear contributor to a healthy lifestyle. Wherever possible locally grown food, for example vegetables, should be grown in ways which do not have a detrimental effect on the environment, and specifically, wildlife.
To conclude, an environment with accessible natural greenspace can contribute to:
- Improved air quality
- A less stressed population
- A fitter population
How to get involved
If you are interested in outdoor exercise to improve your health, or in improving access to or views of greenspace from your premises, then please contact Rachel Edwards 01670 542384.