Your doctor can now prescribe you a day trip to the Toronto Zoo
Posted September 27, 2023 1:15 pm.
Last Updated September 28, 2023 10:26 am.
Ontario healthcare professionals can now prescribe their patients a day trip to the Toronto Zoo.
Zoo officials made the announcement on Wednesday, saying the excursion would be considered a step to improve mental and physical health.
The Toronto Zoo collaborated with PaRx, Canada’s national nature prescription program. A spokesperson said in under three years, over 11,000 Canadian healthcare providers have registered to prescribe time outside for their patients’ health.
“Visiting the Zoo isn’t only about seeing animals and learning about how you can support conservation, it’s also about getting outside at any time of year and exploring our 10 km walking trails in a safe, beautiful site,” said Toronto Zoo CEO Dolf DeJong.
“COVID-19 was hard on everyone, but it also served as a reminder of the importance of carving out time for mental health breaks, connecting with one another, and taking some time away from our devices to get in touch with the natural world and the animals that need our help.”
The Toronto Zoo cited research that shows nature’s health benefits in improving symptoms linked to depression and ADHD, as well as reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
According to scientific research published by Frontiers, a zoo’s recreational aim may be one of the most accessible forms of green prescribing to urban populations seeking to connect with nature.
“Especially as research indicates that negative feelings of loneliness are significantly reduced when city-dwelling people engage with nature,” the study reads.
“Direct contact with the natural world (and with animals in particular) also enhances positive mental states. While access to many types of green space has consistently been shown to promote many positive affective states in humans.”