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Brighton Journal | 30th May 2020

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Good News! The South Downs can Seriously Improve your Health

Good News! The South Downs can Seriously Improve your Health
Hannah Midgley
  • On 1st February 2017

Living by the sea has been scientifically proven to boost your health. The ocean view, the fresh air rolling off the waves, and the feeling of calm are all contributing factors. But residents of Brighton and Hove can boost their health further by taking advantage of the rolling greenery of the South Downs.

Researchers have discovered visits to national parks such as the South Downs can help you combat stress, improve your family life, and boost your confidence. These and other health benefits of the lush national park are being discussed today by West Sussex County Council’s health and wellbeing board. The board will receive a report and presentation emphasising the role national parks play in supporting physical and mental health and wellbeing. The report comes from the South Downs National Park Authority (SPDA).


Andrew Lee, director of countryside management and policy at SDPA, said: “With green rolling hills, wide open spaces, ancient woodlands and river valleys, the South Downs can provide a breathing space for millions of people living in and around the national park.

“More than 3,300km rights of way offer access for walkers, cyclists and horseriders and more than 1,600 teachers use the South Downs to teach in and outside the classroom.

“As research continues to show the wellbeing benefits of countryside and nature I hope that one day we will see doctors prescribing the national park as a place for exercise, reducing obesity and improving mental health.”


Regular exercise can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and asthma, and keeping active outdoors could boost these benefits; the impact of the wind, the rolling hills, and the element of the unexpected all mean you’re likely to burn more calories working out outdoors. Being active in nature can also combat feelings of depression, according to research by Stanford University, California.

So, what are you waiting for? Restart your New Year’s health kick and plan a walk, run, or bike ride in the South Downs.

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