In this series of blog posts Ellie Dewdney will be keeping you up to date with current issues that could affect Britain’s most special places and what the National Trust are doing to preserve these national treasures.
With summer just around the corner, this is the time of year when many of us (regretting the occasional treats presented by Christmas and Easter) are trying to lose a couple of pounds. It’s a well-known fact that the best way to shed any unwanted weight is a combination of healthy eating and frequent exercise but gym memberships do not come cheap.
Here at the National Trust we are firm believers that green spaces (in the countryside or urban areas) can provide a fun, easy and free alternative to gyms. With walking proving to be the most popular sporting activity in the UK, with over a third of men and women partaking regularly, many of us are already taking advantage of these ‘green gyms’. We would encourage everyone to get outside and join them; many of our sites boast stunning walks and scenery for you to enjoy whilst improving your health.
Even for those who swear by the treadmill, there is growing evidence showing the benefits of doing your work out outdoors or even just being outside. In 2008, the Scottish Health Survey found that outdoor physical activity was 50% better at getting those endorphins flowing and giving people a mental boost than going to the gym. Similarly, medical experts have spoken out about outdoor exercises potential to decrease tension, anger and depression whilst improving self-esteem!
In fact, recently, President of the Royal College of Physicians, Sir Richard Thompson, has championed the important role green spaces can play in hospitals. Benefitting both patients and staff, hospital gardens not only reduce stress but can help facilitate faster healing.
It has even been suggested that increasing people’s access to green spaces could result in significant NHS savings. Sue Holden, CEO of the Woodland’s Trust, previously told the BBC that the NHS could save in excess of £2bill a year if everyone could enjoy green spaces easily.
We have always been aware of the power of green spaces and consider them to be the green lungs of Britain and, therefore, a key factor in ensuring the nations well-being and health. Statistics such as these only make us more committed to protecting green spaces, promoting their importance in future planning strategies and making sure that the public is aware of the multitude of benefits of getting outdoors.
Here are some more pros of getting some outdoor activity:
- Even a short walk can improve your attention and focus.
- If you exercise outside you are more likely to keep it up and could burn up to 20% more calories in every session.
- Outdoor activity is a better stimulant than caffeine.
- Exercising in the great outdoors will help improve your balance on uneven surfaces while soaking up some Vitamin D.
So if we’ve inspired you to shake things up and take your next work out outdoors follow this link for some helpful tips and easy exercises that will get you started on the right foot – http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/get-involved/build-your-skills/how-to-guides/outdoor-gym/. Or if you are feeling really ambitious why not think about signing up for one the National Trust’s workout holidays or a local running group?