Why 'park prescriptions' are gaining popularity

Physicians are increasingly prescribing a free, effective therapy for patients with various conditions: more time in nature, Time reported April 27.

The so-called "park prescriptions" have gained traction over the last decade alongside research into the physical and mental health benefits of spending more time outdoors. For example, the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland invites pediatric patients with conditions such as anxiety, autism or obesity to participate in monthly park excursions through its Center for Nature and Health.

"It's pretty clear that it's good for you," Nooshin Razani, MD, a pediatrician at the hospital and founder of the program, told Time.

Spending time in nature can improve mental health and lower the risk of physical conditions, such as heart disease, studies suggest. However, researchers are still trying to understand why nature has such a healing effect. One theory is that spending time outdoors lowers stress, which can contribute to various health issues. 

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