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Green and Blue Wellness: A Model for Improving Physical and Mental Health

Abstract

Exposure to green spaces (e.g. public parks, gardens) and blue spaces (e.g. rivers, lakes) is associated with improved physical and mental health. Pathways to explain this association include reduced air pollution, increased physical activity, enhanced relaxation and more social connections. Chronic, non-communicable disease (NCDs) is caused by poor health behaviors, such as lack of physical activity, poor stress coping and poor nutrition. Improved health through lifestyle changes such as increased physical activity, improved diet, and coping effectively with stress are a global priority in preventing NCD’s. It appears that prescriptions to spend increased time in green and blue spaces should be incorporated into existing programs designed to improve health behaviors. It does not appear that a comprehensive model that incorporates green and blue spaces, physical health, relaxation, nutrition and social connections has been developed. This paper fills that gap with a Green and Blue WellnessTM program designed for implementation in health care settings or as a consumer project consistent with principles of patient health self-management.

Ronald R O’Donnell

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