Here are a few examples of how exercise in nature has made a difference to patients:
“As an elderly person living on my own I have found during these trying times that keeping my mind busy is a great help. I do quite a few hobbies, knitting, painting and the best thing is being able to go outside and work in my garden and go for a walk in the park keeping at a safe distance, also having an allotment is a great help it keeps you mentally stimulated and helps with well being.
Hopefully in the not too distant future we will all be back to a near normal world.”
“Having suffered for years with anxiety and low self-esteem I have now found that running for on average 5 miles a day or simply going for an hour’s walk has helped me feel more positive about myself. About 5 years ago I was prescribed anti-depression tablets but after a short time I decided that they were not for me and as I had been a runner in my youth and I was a postman which meant I did a lot of walking. I feel a sense of achievement when I have completed my run and this feeling can last sometimes long periods or at times a short period but it is always a positive feeling. If anyone is suffering from anxiety I would advise you to find a sport which suits you either to do on your own which is the I prefer or with a family member or friend while social distancing, it doesn’t need to cost anything. Running or walking is free”
“I was given a leaflet by my doctor to go online, which I did, and I found it very helpful. You can do activities online or you can do various outdoor and local activities walking, group sessions..
“I benefited from the woodland walk with people that are in the same or similar situation so you can walk and chat, it takes your mind off every day life and gives your mind time to relax and enjoy the day.
“I benefit from it a lot and it does help especially if you’re having a down day as well and I’m really glad I looked at the website.”
And here are a couple of experiences from members of a Primary Health Care Team:
“For many years I knew I needed to be more active but didn’t want the expense of the gym. I also felt that if I was going to exercise I wanted to be outdoors, and I also wanted to reduce my carbon footprint, so the obvious solution was to cycle to work rather than drive. But I didn’t think I would be able to manage the Sheffield hills!
“Eventually I plucked up the courage to buy a bicycle, through the salary release scheme, which made it quite a bit cheaper. My first trip had me walking for several uphill portions of the journey, and I arrived at work with legs like jelly. I had to pull myself up the stairs by my arms! Just 2 weeks later I could manage all the hills and was enjoying the 6 mile commute. Within no time that wasn’t enough cycling for me, and I now cycle to my second job in Chesterfield. People who have known me a long time would be very surprised that I have taken up cycling, as I was quite a lazybones when I was younger and didn’t undertake any exercise beyond a reasonably brisk walk!
“I love my ride through the Derbyshire countryside, and I cycle and walk for pleasure at weekends too. It is hugely de-stressing to spend time in the countryside and get the worries of the week in perspective. I’d recommend it to anyone (and my patients will know that I frequently do!). There is really strong research evidence for the beneficial effects on physical and emotional health for exercise in nature.
“If you’re nervous about cycling on roads, you could enrol on a free PedalReady course www.pedalready.co.uk to teach you advanced skills for staying safe on a bicycle. That made me far more confident and competent.
CycleBoost Sheffield www.sheffieldcycleboost.org loan out electric bikes free for people to try, so if you’re not sure about cycling you could give it a try that way.
Alternatively, just get out for walks in nature, whatever you can manage – it costs nothing and is a fantastic way to help your physical and emotional health.”
“Having a walk on a lovely sunny day in the countryside listening to the nature around us or at local country parks is a lovely way of clearing your head and feeling fresh. Also meeting people and talking along the way makes it even more enjoyable”