A "parkscription" from your doctor has multiple health benefits

Jul 09, 2018

Joining a growing movement recognizing the health benefits of time spent outdoors, North Sound Family Medicine is using the Parkscriptions program to help patients find new and innovative ways to address health problems.

Parkscriptions was created by local non-profit organization Recreation NW. It is based on a collection of national models that encourage time spent outdoors to treat health conditions. 

Evidence of the impact of time spent outdoors on patient health is encouraging.

  • Nature exposure has demonstrated benefits for general wellbeing as well as for specific symptoms relating to anxiety, depression and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Being outdoors supports a wide range of physical health issues, including increasing physical activity in children, increasing vitamin D in people of all ages, and decreasing blood sugar for diabetics.

Dr. Greg Anderson, at Family Care Network's Bellingham Bay Family Medicine, has been prescribing time outdoors to his patients for about a year. "In my experience, presenting a patient with a Parkscription has been universally well received. Patients appreciate how Parkcriptions focuses on some of the basics of a healthy lifestyle.”

The Parkscriptions program developed whatcomparkfinder.org to help physicians find a park or outdoor space convenient to a patient's home or workplace. Each park has a downloadable PDF that shows the park's features and amenities, such as trail surface and length, restrooms, or play equipment for kids. Parks can also be sorted based on access to water, basketball courts, or playing fields.

Talk to your doctor about how a Parkscription can help you on your way to a healthy, balanced lifestyle.