According to new data from health provider Bupa, 38 per cent of adults in the UK spend less than an hour a day outdoors, with lack of access to green spaces having a knock-on effect on mental and physical health.
The company is calling for access and quality of shared outdoor spaces to be improved to boost the health and wellbeing of people and the planet.
The main barriers to getting outdoors are not having enough free time (15 per cent) and having a busy job (13 per cent), and many people also struggle to access outdoor spaces, despite the known health benefits of being in nature including mindfulness, a better mood, reduced stress and anger, improved self-esteem and being more active.
More than half of people (52 per cent) don’t have access to a park within walking distance and one in eight (12 per cent) live over an hour away.
The lack of outdoor space has a knock-on impact on health, according to Bupa. Forty-seven per cent of people say that their mental or physical health suffers if they spend too much time indoors and want to increase their time outside to two and a half hours to get the maximum benefit.
Bupa is therefore launching its Healthy Cities initiative, encouraging people to incorporate daily movement into their routines throughout June. It is part of its global ambition to support one million people to improve their health each year by 2025, through restoring and regenerating nature.
Bupa people, partners and customers will undertake a 30-day walking challenge to support fundraising for green initiatives and kick-start the habit of getting outdoors every day. This will unlock funding for the Bupa Foundation to donate up to £750,000 to help regenerate local green spaces across the country.
Carlos Jaureguizar, CEO, Bupa Global & UK says: “Our Healthy Cities challenge focuses on encouraging people to adopt long-term healthy habits, while preserving and regenerating our green spaces. The health benefits of spending time in nature have long been known, so this challenge seeks to remind people of these benefits to their overall wellness.
“People’s health and planet health are inextricably linked, which is why it’s essential that we help to bring greater access to quality green spaces. This supports our purpose of helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives and making a better world.”