OUTDOORS AS MEDICINE: THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF NATURE ARE NUMEROUS, SCIENCE SAYS
When Itzamary and Noe Caban attended their first Outdoors Rx event three years ago in Chelsea, Mass., they assumed the AMC program’s primary beneficiary would be their young daughter, Khalani.
After all, it was Khalani’s pediatrician who’d referred the family to Outdoors Rx—which organizes free, structured outdoor experiences for families living in several under-resourced Greater Boston communities—suggesting she could benefit from additional socialization and language development. Khalani, now 5, has certainly blossomed in the program, her parents say. But Itzamary and Noe say they could not have foreseen how their own health would benefit from those weekly, year-round trips to local parks and beaches with AMC.
Following her family’s move to Chelsea from Puerto Rico in search of medical care for Khalani, Itzamary says they knew no one except Noe’s mother. “I spent, with Khalani, that entire year indoors,” she recalls. “I was depressed. It was hard to get used to the weather, the new culture, the city. Being part of the Outdoors Rx program helped me a lot, mentally.”