News

Melburnians visit parks more than us

By Jamie Salter

Recent research by Parks Victoria found people living in regional areas do not take advantage of national and state parks compared to Melburnians.

Parks Victoria's health and community activation manager Shauna Jones said there were an abundance of locations to choose from when visiting a park.

“There is no shortage of stunning places around Victoria to visit — from windswept beaches to rugged mountains, open plains to tumbling waterfalls,” she said.

“A visit is not only enjoyable but you’ll also be doing your health a favour.

“Research suggests spending time in nature reduces stress levels and helps boost immunity.

“It also improves concentration, learning, problem solving and creativity.”

The research surveyed 1000 Victorians over 18 years old from metropolitan Melbourne and Victorian regional areas.

Respondents were asked about their mental health, exercise habits and park visitation, which showed 75 per cent of regional Victorians believe spending time in nature positively affects their mental health, however:

● Almost 25 per cent of regional dwellers visit a park once a year or less compared to 16 per cent of Melburnians.

● Forty-seven per cent visit a park six times a year or less, compared to Melburnians at 35 per cent.

A key difference between regional Victorians and Melburnians was more than 41 per cent of Melburnians visit a park once a week or more, as opposed to only 29.5 per cent of regional Victorians.

Parks Victoria encourages those in regional areas to discover the beauty of natural environments by visiting parks more often in the coming new year.

Joining a walking group or holding workplace team building experiences in parks are ways to increase park visits.

To find out more about parks right across Victoria, go to: www.parks.vic.gov.au