London: A new research has suggested that sitting on a park bench is great for your health and should not be regarded as anti-social.
The research by the University of Sheffield and the Young Foundation criticises "hostile architecture" that uses deliberately uncomfortable seating to stop groups from gathering, the Daily Express reported.
They claim the current trend of removing benches from cities because they are seen as encouraging anti social behaviour, "damages community life" and hanging out should be regarded as "essential for mental health and social wellbeing."
The benches are also good for physical health, they say, as they provide resting places for people with limited mobility.
However, the researchers in the University's Department of Landscape and the London-based think tank conclude that the traditional park bench with wooden slats may be comfortable, but are not the best for those who enjoy gathering in larger groups.
Principal Investigator Clare Rishbeth said that it is heartening to find how sitting outside can improve quality of life for many people, and underlines the importance of socially aware design of both benches and public space.
Researcher Radhika Bynon added that the research found that benches help people to feel a sense of belonging to an area, and helps to combat loneliness and isolation.