A new prescription is coming to Canada. Doctors are now allowed to prescribe outdoor time as a way to combat certain health issues.
Founded in late 2020 by the B.C. Parks Foundation, PaRX is a program that works with doctors to give patients a Parks Canada Discovery Pass. The pass typically costs $57, but under the new program, patients needing a little extra time outdoors can get it for free. PaRX says the program breaks down financial barriers separating patients from enjoying the country’s parks. It also essentially forces people to get outside and create a bond with nature.
PaRX mainly focuses on the country’s national parks, but some gardens are also offering free admission to anyone showing their doctor’s prescription. PaRX is currently available in four Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The remaining provinces are currently working to implement the program into their healthcare systems.
Health Benefits Of Nature
According to PaRX, nature prescriptions are a trending global health trend because nature is good for both physical and mental health. Program officials say spending time outdoors increases life expectancy, energy, and boosts your mood. It can also reduce stress and pain. Nature also benefits kids, with research showing that outdoor time can improve their concentration and help them maintain a healthy body weight.
Canadian doctors are recommending spending at least 20 minutes outdoors at a time, with a minimum of two hours per week as a way to increase overall health in patients.