Prestwood High Street Car Park – GMPRG’s case for more park benches

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

The case for park benches to encourage exercise and improve health


New research has shown that park benches are an asset to our lives and to our
communities.
Not only is the park bench great for encouraging people to go outside,
somewhere to sit and chat, it can also improve the lives of elderly people too.
Elderly people are suffering more and more from mental illnesses with 28% of
women over 65 being diagnosed with depression. Depression in elderly people
is a result of many different factors, with one of the key factors being isolation.
Loneliness can cause excess stress on the body and this can result in chronic
diseases including heart failure!
However, by going out for a walk and being able to sit on a bench enables
older people not only keep mobile but also to interact with people their age.
Not to mention that having a place to sit down gives older people a place to
rest whilst they go for a walk.
Prestwood High Street Car Park, owned by CDC, offers a great opportunity to
provide a bench at an appropriate location between other benches to help
the less mobile to get out and about, do a bit of shopping, go to the doctor’s
etc. Without somewhere to stop and sit, older and disable members of the
community are reluctant to venture out, in case they get out of breath or in
pain.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence( NICE) , quoted in The
Times 23 March 2018 as saying that areas with benches, flowers and lighting
tempt people to go out for a walk. They emphasise the need for improvements
to public space to be more active. Councils are advised “to make it as easy
for possible for people to walk”.

The guidance from NICE adds- “For most older people walking is by far the
most important activity”. Doctors describe exercise as a “wonder drug” that
can prevent cancer, diabetes and other diseases.

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