If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you don’t need to hear it. But at least it’s a validation of your lifestyle. Doctors in England and Wales–as recommended by the Local Government Association (the equivalent of city government in the US)–is set to start prescribing “green space” prescriptions to overweight patients, encouraging them to get outside and play.
The prescriptions could include free passes to National Parks and other perks so people take ‘feeding the rat’ more seriously. In Dorset, in southwest England, physicians have already prescribed activities like running, gardening and sailing. In East Riding, in Yorkshire, medical systems are linked to gyms so doctors can prescribe and monitor workouts of their patients. “There are some instances where rather than prescribing a pill, advising on some type of moderate physical activity outdoors could be far more beneficial to the patient,” said LGA spokeswoman Izzi Seccombe.
There has been some push back from the country’s Royal College of General Practitioners, calling for any green space prescribing to go hand-in-hand with traditional medicine but outdoor activity like running, skiing, mountain biking and surfing have been proven to benefit health. And in my opinion, Western Medicine is long overdue for a philosophical shift to move more towards a focus on diet and nutrition—and away from the immediate prescription of drugs.
Prescription drug companies have long dominated our medical institutions here in the States with doctors on the payroll of some of the country’s major pharmaceutical outlets. Exercise and diet are the way to freedom. High blood pressure? Maybe your doctor should take a closer look at your lifestyle and advise against drinking coffee, monitoring weight and tobacco habits instead of prescribing a blood pressure pill right off the bat. It seems a matter of common sense. But it hasn’t been in this country.