What the research says
Nature helps us be active
Within parks, people tend to be more physically active - on tracks, playgrounds and at sports facilities. The many benefits of exercise and physical activity are now well documented. Regularly physical activity can help maintain healthy weight, reduce the risk of heart attack and more.
‘Green’ exercise – better for you than exercising in the gym
Numerous studies have found that exercising outside in a natural setting – ‘green’ exercise – is better than exercising indoors.Just five minutes of exercise in a park, working in a backyard garden, on a nature trail or other green space will benefit mental health.
Nature is great for kids
In natural environments, children use natural materials (flowers, sticks, stones etc) for long periods of imaginary play. Imaginary play has been shown to help children develop social and cognitive skills.
Nature helps with healthy ageing
As well as providing the opportunity for physical activity, contact with plants can be used therapeutically and helps people recover from the stress and strain of everyday living. Gardening has been found to strengthen muscles, improve mobility and flexibility, and can help reduce osteoporosis and even reduce the likelihood of dementia.
Nature helps our mental health
Contact with nature improves self-awareness, self esteem, self concept and positively effects mood. Contact with nature is effective in alleviating the symptoms of anxiety, depression, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, tension, headaches and even indigestion.
Nature helps us heal
Studies have demonstrated that hospital patients recover more quickly when they can see trees from their windows.
Natural spaces help build strong communities
Joining a Park friends group has a double benefit – it helps the health of the park through the work achieved and helps participants build ties to the people and places locally.
Read the research
An independent review of international research by academics at Deakin University found over two hundred studies that showed contact with nature makes people physically and mentally healthier.
20 Nov 2015
The annual Great Victorian Fish Count kicks off this weekend. Over the next fortnight divers and snorkelers will look for fish species 'on the move' in response to changing marine environments, including warming caused by climate change. The popular citizen science event will be coordinated by the Victorian National Parks…