health improvement

Kindness within a Community: Combating loneliness and building stronger communities

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Carnegie Trust UK have published their second report looking at loneliness and social isolation and the impact of kinder communities. The report finds kindness is a necessary ingredient of successful communities. However there are major factors that get in the way of engaging and encouraging kindness both in individuals and organisations. Read the report here

Mexico City’s bike revolution

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It’s an eerily calm Sunday morning on the city’s Avenida Reforma, an avenue which is grid-locked on weekdays by tens of thousands of cars sitting bumper-to-bumper.

The Reforma’s closure to car traffic on Sundays in 2007 kickstarted the capital’s attempts to make life easier for cyclists. In 2010 a 17km-long bike lane through the city opened.

The car still reigns supreme in this metropolis of 22 million people, with more than four million vehicles clogging the roads every day.

Perhaps the biggest factor has been the launch of the so-called Ecobicis (Eco-bikes) in 2010. Following on from similar schemes operating in London, Paris and Barcelona, Mexico City launched a public bike rentals at 90 different sites. Since then, some 30,000 people have joined and there is a waiting list for new members. The Ecobici system is expected to expand to 75,000 users by the end of 2012, with 4,000 more bicycles made available at new sites.

The scheme is not without it’s critics with some of Mexico City’s drivers spending up to four hours a day on their journeys to work, with three separate rush-hours. Some say cyclists have only made matters worse.

One local radio host Angel Verdugo angered bike users when he called on car drivers to run over the cyclists. He said championing the new breed of cyclists was a form of racism. “They want to be like Europeans,” he says. “They believe they are living in Paris and riding along the Champs-Elysees.”

He subsequently made a public apology.

There’s no doubt that Mexico City is for the most part still a car-orientated city but it is also clear that cycling is in the ascendancy. More cycle ways are planned, and public opinion supporting active travel is growing. A car free city is, however, a long way off.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

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Thinking, talking, and walking are inextricably linked through history. It is only a recent idea that we meet around tables, seated in chairs. We want to help you rediscover and share the value of walking meetings.

Aristotle was said to walk as he taught, founding what we now refer to as Ancient Greece’s Peripatetic School of Philosophy. This name was derived from the colonnade or walkway in the Lyceum in which he taught. The Sophists, philosophers predating Socrates, were wanderers. They travelled place to place on foot delivering talks.

Despite the onslaught of “mobile” technology, people are spending more time sitting at their desk than ever before. The average worker sits about 9.5 hours a day – which is 2 hours more per day than they sleep.

What keeps us tethered to our desks? Our insatiable thirst for increased productivity and efficiency. Ironically, one of the things that makes us most effective is leaving our desks.

It’s well-known that Steve Jobs insisted on walking meetings, and Mark Zuckerberg favors them as well.


Here are 7 reasons you want to consider incorporating moving meetings into your culture:

  • Employee Health.
    Walking meetings allow employees to integrate physical activity throughout their workday, which yields improved health, lower health care costs, and a lower number of sick days.
  • Higher Employee Energy
    Movement yields circulation; circulation yields energy. Rather than reach for a biscuit to get a boost of energy, take a walk outside.
  • Inspiration.
    Nature and changes of scenery trigger new neuro-pathways in our brains which yield new ideas, and new solutions to problems.
  • A Flatter Organization.
  • Technology executive Nilofer Merchant shares in her 3-minute TED Talk that when executives and employees walk side-by-side, the hierarchical boundaries are virtually eliminated.
  • Increased Collaboration.
  • Walking meetings aren’t just for a few people. Larger groups can benefit as well. Unlike traditional meetings in a conference room, where attendees take a seat and often don’t move until the meeting is over, mobile meetings give attendees the option of moving freely from one conversation to another.
  • Stronger Personal Connections.
    Walking meetings take the corporate feeling out of meetings. Employees can accomplish the same goals set for a traditional meeting, but they can relate on a much more personal level.
  • Minimized Differences.
    Walking meetings bring everyone together. As companies continue to employee 5 different generations of workers, and as diversity increases in the workforce, walking meetings break down both conscious and unconscious biases and barriers.So next time you’re scheduling a meeting, why not give a walking meeting a go?

What does “wellbeing” mean to you?

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Welcome to the second of Kincardine and Mearns local community plan priorities.

Communities, both place-based and people sharing a common identity or affinity, have a vital contribution to make to health and wellbeing. Community life, social connections, supportive relationships and having a voice in local decisions are all factors that underpin good health, however, inequalities persist and too many people experience the effects of social exclusion or lack social support. Participatory approaches directly address the marginalisation and powerlessness caused by entrenched health inequalities.

The assets within communities, such as the skills and knowledge, social networks, local groups and community organisations, are building blocks for good health. Many people in Kincardine & Mearns already contribute to community life through volunteering, community leadership and activism. Community empowerment occurs when people work together to shape the decisions that influence their lives and health and begin to create a more equitable society. This is not about a DIY approach to health; there are important roles for NHS, local government and their partners in creating safe and supportive places, fostering resilience and enabling individuals and communities to take more control of their health and lives.

Over the next few weeks we will share with you some stories about wellbeing and what it means to a variety of people. Look out for our first blog next week.We hope you enjoy

Forget the gym…..

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Middle-aged people are being urged to walk faster to help stay healthy, amid concern high levels of inactivity may be harming their health.

They are urging those between the ages of 40 and 60 to start doing regular brisk walks.

Just 10 minutes a day could have a major impact, reducing the risk of early death by 15%, they say.

But estimates show four out of every 10 40- to 60-year-olds do not even manage a brisk 10-minute walk each month.

An American study found that people who walked for at least four hours a week gained less weight (an average 9 lb less) than couch potatoes as they got older.

Last year, researchers at the University of Colorado found that regular walking helped to prevent peripheral artery disease (which impairs blood flow in the legs and causes leg pain in one-fifth of elderly people).

Walking can even prevent colds. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts medical school found that people who walked every day had 25 per cent fewer colds than those who were sedentary.

Because walking is a weight-bearing exercise, it can also help prevent the bone

disease osteoporosis.

Best of all, walking makes you feel good about yourself. “For people suffering from depression, walking three to four times a week for 30 minutes has been shown to enhance their mood

So next time you have 20 minutes to spare, put on your shoes and start your journey to better health.

Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) World Café.

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SAMH are holding an event in Stonehaven on Wednesday 26 July from 1100 – 1400. The event is aimed at professionals supporting clients with mental health needs, and clients, and is relevant to adult services only (16 – 65 years). Participants should be willing to take part in discussions and share their lived experiences of mental health services. If you would like to attend, please contact and let them know if you will be taking along any clients on the day.

Dementia Friendly Aberdeenshire

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Dementia Friendly Communities in Kincardine & Mearns are working to raise awareness of the early stages of dementia and to reduce the stigma attached, enabling people with dementia to continue to remain active participants in their communities for as long as possible, live well and not be isolated from their communities. All it takes is learning a little about dementia and doing small things which can make a big difference. The Project Officer, Karen Wood, is available to come to speak (free) to all community groups in the K&M area. For more information please email, or phone/text 07585 242428.