Contributing to a healthier Scotland

We work with health sector professionals to promote outdoor activity and contact with nature as ways to improve Scotland’s health.

Both the health sector and policymakers in general increasingly see the value of the outdoor environment as a resource for improving public health.

Our policy on health and the natural heritage sets out a vision of better places and greater involvement in the enjoyment and care of nature and landscapes. Together, these can help to tackle current health challenges in Scotland. Find out more by reading the policy statement: Developing the contribution of the natural heritage to a healthier Scotland

Green exercise – active and passive engagement with the environment – is one route towards a healthier Scotland. There’s growing evidence for its place in helping to address physical inactivity, mental health issues and health inequalities. We’ve long promoted the use of the outdoors for better health and well-being – and we continue to do so.

Parks, paths and other local greenspace and countryside can be used as part of daily routines and as a setting for supportive green exercise programmes. These programmes range from Health Walks to Green Gyms, giving people a greater choice of ways to get active in the outdoors.

Scottish Natural Heritage is leading the development of Our Natural Health Service, a cross-sector initiative to maximise the potential of green exercise to contribute to health outcomes. Working with our partners, we promote the use of greenspace, supportive nature-based projects and better links between the health and environment sectors. We want to show how these can be part of the solution to current health issues and pressures on health and social care delivery.