Parks, gardens, greenspaces, woodlands and local paths are ideal settings for a spot of green exercise. Perhaps you like to relax by taking a gentle stroll or by tidying up the garden. Maybe cycling to work starts the day on a high note or you look forward to evenings playing sport in the park.
Whatever pace you set yourself, being in the outdoors and getting active is great for your physical and mental health and well-being.
It’s recommended that adults do at least five 30-minute sessions of moderate exercise per week. For children, it’s at least 1 hour every day. Getting active outdoors could be an easy way for you to meet your target.
Learn about green exercise and its benefits.
Step to it
Parks and woods are a brilliant backdrop for your walk, cycle or jog. Soak up the surroundings and say hello to your neighbours as you get your daily dose of green exercise. You can probably reach your favourite local greenspace via a traffic-free route – so you can leave the car at home.
Active travel is another option if you struggle to set aside a specific time for outdoor exercise. Just choose to walk or cycle whenever you have to go somewhere and you’ll soon start to clock up the miles.
Discover your local path network today.
Stuck for what to do in the holidays? Check out Scottish Natural Heritage explore for a day for some great ideas.
Renowned for its rich cultural heritage and abundant wildlife, Aberdeenshire has something for everyone. This leaflet includes four possible itineraries for a day out in this breathtaking north-eastern region of Scotland.
Stroll along stunning stretches of sandy beaches, hike through wild landscapes or ramble atop dramatic cliffs. Aberdeenshire’s various nature reserves also offer unrivalled opportunities to spot a wealth of wildlife. Head to the region’s coastline to spot waders, seals and falcons, and glimpse red squirrels and the Scottish crossbill above your head in majestic ancient woodlands.
Or how about a spot of time travel? Dating back thousands of years, the region boasts an impressive 99 standing stone sites. Or take a tour through Scottish history via Aberdeenshire’s many castles and strongholds perched atop rugged cliffs, set in wide expanses of moorland and nestling within beautiful landscaped gardens.
All this and more awaits you here in Aberdeenshire. What are you waiting for?
Researchers have found that the closer people live to the sea, the healthier they tend to be.
However, it is not just those who live in rural seaside areas that benefit.
The biggest effect is actually felt by people living in coastal cities like Newcastle and Southampton, compared to inland ones like Birmingham and Leeds.
It was not sure how much of the benefit had to do with salty air.
It’s thought that it could be that the sea had a calming influence on people, or that those who lived near it had an added incentive to get out and about.
Information from the 2001 census compared the health of people in England living near the sea and far away, both in rural and urban areas.
In the census respondents were required to rate their health as ‘good’, ‘fairly good’, or ‘not good’. Nationwide, just over two-thirds (69 per cent) rated it as ‘good’.
However, those living within three miles (5km) of the coast were slightly more likely to rate their health highly, compared to those living more than 30 miles (50km) inland.
The effect extended to those living in the band 12 to 30 miles (20-50km) from the sea, although less strongly.
Researchers concluded “You don’t have to have a sea view to benefit.”
The results suggested what was important was how often people got to the coast, and how woven it was into their lives.
The study, published in the journal Health and Place, took account of variations in age and wealth between different areas’ populations.
It showed living by the sea most benefits poorer, city-dwelling people – those who, nationally, suffer the worst health and do the least exercise.
Good news for those of us lucky enough to live by the beautiful Aberdeenshire coastline. But even if you don’t, added incentive to go out and make the most of it!
Saturday 14th July 1.30 – 3.30pm
WILD PLANT HUNT
Waterlogged and acidic peat makes life really tough on
a raised bog. Track down the wonderful wild bog plants
living on Portlethen Moss. We will uncover a few of
their survival secrets, encounter a carnivorous plant and
discover some natural dyes and pigments. Please wear
wellies for this wetland exploration. Booking essential.
MEET: at the Bruntland Road entrance to Portlethen
CONTACT: the Kincardine and Mearns Ranger on 07768
You’re not supposed to feel lonely while you’re young, but the truth is it’s a bigger concern among young people than any other age group.
In recent years youth loneliness and isolation has been increasingly identified as a matter of significant public concern. Research identifies that one in three young people suffer from loneliness (Red Cross, Co-op, Kantar, 2016) and 65% of 16-25 years old reporting feeling loneliness at times and 32% feeling lonely “often” or “all the time” (Majoribanks and Bradley, 2017).
“Loneliness is a recognised problem among the elderly – there are day centres and charities to help them,” says Sam Challis, an information manager at the mental health charity Mind, “but when young people reach 21 they’re too old for youth services.”
But what can young people do to combat loneliness?
While meditation techniques such as mindfulness and apps such as Headspace are trendy solutions frequently recommended for a range of mental health problems, they’re not necessarily helpful for loneliness, as they actively encourage us to dwell alone on our thoughts. You’re be better off addressing the underlying causes of being lonely first – what’s stopping you going out and seeing people?
Social media can be helpful. Helplines can also reduce loneliness, at least in the short term. One in four men who call the Samaritans mention loneliness or isolation, and Get Connected is a free confidential helpline for young people, where they can seek help with emotional and mental health issues often linked to loneliness. There are also support services on websites such as Mind’s that can remind you you’re not alone. Speak to your employer, value the interactions you have in the workplace. Counselling can be helpful. The BACP website allows you to search for counsellors in your area. “A problem aired is a problem shared and sometimes you need to talk to someone impartial and independent of your friends and family.
If recent research is to be believed, loneliness is killing the elderly and, with an ageing population, we should aim to reduce our isolation before it is too late. “Getting older doesn’t have to mean getting lonelier,” says Ruth Sutherland, the chief executive of Relate, in a new report. “But much of this rests on laying the foundations to good-quality relationships earlier in life.”
A new grassroots movement to challenge sexism, reduce mental health stigma, and save the lives of young women across the world has kicked off in Scotland.
Young women are the highest-risk group for mental illness in the UK. Research estimates 46% of young women between 11 and 21 years old have sought out treatment for mental health conditions including anxiety, depression and eating disorders.
Research has shown that psychological distress amongst young women is linked to the growing pressures that this group faces: pressures to look beautiful and thin in an age of ‘airbrushing’; social media pressures; stress at school and university; and an increase in sexual harassment. Very often, these pressures lead to low self-esteem and body image problems, with evidence suggesting that young girls start to worry about their body image from the age of 11.
Existing magazines targeting young women can compound these problems with picture perfect models gracing every page. Fearless Femme sets about challenging these cultural norms by empowering young women to overcome stress and other mental health challenges through its new online magazine and growing community of ‘rebelles’, as well as its research and campaigns for policy change.
Want to know more? Fearless Femme can be found at https://www.fearlessfemme.co.uk/our-story/