I-GO: It's Time for Doctors to Prescribe Outdoor Therapy

I-GO: It's Time for Doctors to Prescribe Outdoor Therapy
Read the article in Outside Magazine

For years, the physical and emotional benefits of time outdoors have been well known among outdoor enthusiasts, and now science is catching up. Iraq veteran and director of Sierra Club Outdoors Stacy Bare – along with UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner – founded the Great Outdoor Lab in 2013 with the goal of researching and scientifically proving the benefits of time outdoors. They hope their studies will establish nature as a viable therapy for ailments like depression, PTSD, dementia and more. They also hope to encourage health insurance companies to see time outdoors as an effective way to reduce costs and keep people healthier.

Keltner and Bare are already collaborating with other researchers, including Dr. Nooshin Razani at the University of California at San Francisco’s Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, as well as health care providers like Kaiser Permanente. They’re also in discussions with the VA.

The Great Outdoor Lab is just one of many programs dedicated to showing the health benefits of time outdoors. More and more doctors are prescribing America’s public lands and waters as a remedy to the nation’s obesity epidemic, rampant stress and other maladies. ParkRx (Park Prescriptions) are programs designed to encourage people to use parks, trails and more to improve personal and community health. To learn more about Park Rx programs, watch ParkRx Adviser Dr. Robert Zarr's presentation from Partners Outdoors 2016 here.