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Green Exercise

ForestGreen Exercise in Dundee ....
One small step to feeling better ...

What is Green Exercise?
Green exercise describes physical activity in outdoor natural settings (e.g. green spaces, paths, parks, nature reserves and countryside). It includes: walking and relaxation; outdoor learning and play; recreation and sport; practical conservation; gardening; rehabilitation and recovery and active travel.

Where can I get some green exercise?

LeafVisit a park ...

  • View the Parks and Gardens section of this site
  • Dundee City Council's Access Officer, Tel: 01382 434000
  • Right here in Dundee we have sandy beaches, beautiful forest and hilltop views. Just being in the outdoors, gently enjoying the fresh-air, views and the unconfined space; taking photos, watching birds and having picnics - can all lead to a nurturing of the mind as well as topping up on vitamin D.

LeafTake a stroll ...

  • View the Health Cards section of this site
  • Dundee City Council's Access Officer, Tel: 01382 434000
  • Dundee is a lovely city to walk in with great views from many locations and so many amenities within easy walking distance. Its small "town-like" environment gives the city a more informal, friendly feel than most major cities. Use the 'route planner' to find routes to and from anywhere in the city - based on your own walking pace.

LeafCountryside Ranger events ...

  • Visit the Countryside Ranger Service section of this site
  • Countryside Ranger Service, Tel: 01382 431848
  • In addition to a planned programme of events the Countryside Ranger Service provides a number of other services e.g. educational events, talks and guided walks for groups, community work and conservation volunteering activities.

LeafJoin a walking group ...

  • Visit the Healthy Walks in Dundee section of this site
  • Dundee Healthy Living Initiative, Tel: 01382 435824
  • A sense of isolation is often associated with mental health problems. Exploring your local environment is a good first step towards gaining confidence in gentle social interaction, and there may be a walking group in your area providing a way to make new friends. It's also a great way to help with motivation!

LeafGet on a bike ...

  • Visit the Walking, Riding, Cycling section of this site
  • Dundee is a great place to get on your bike. Dundee Cycle Map is the most up to date guide to cycling in the city. It includes the Green Circular and Greenways routes and recommends ways of getting across much of the city using quieter roads, cycle lanes and off road routes.

LeafGet more adventurous ...

  • Visit Ancrum Outdoor Centre's website
  • Ancrum Outdoor Centre, Tel: 01382 435911
  • Fancy something a little more demanding? Ancrum Outdoor Centre offers an amazing range of outdoor sporting activities, including watersports, snowsports, hillwalking and much more. Based right here in Dundee the skilled and qualified staff create the perfect opportunity to give these things a go knowing you're in safe hands.

Enjoying the Outdoors

We all know physical activity is good for your health and well-being but if going to the gym or swimming pool, or playing team sports, is just not for you then why not try getting active outdoors?

As well as just giving us that 'feel good factor', getting active outdoors and being in touch with the environment brings a range of physical, mental and social health benefits. It's also free, fun to do with other people, and requires little in the way of kit.

Getting active outdoors can increase your energy levels, improve mood, ease stress and tension, help tackle poor sleep and improve your ability to deal with life's problems.

There are many opportunities just minutes from your doorstep to get out and enjoy the outdoors. In towns and cities, public parks, gardens, and other green spaces provide places to get some fresh air and healthy exercise. Elsewhere woods and forests, country parks and nature reserves provide welcoming places to explore. Or maybe you want to find a riverside walk, or head for the coast or the hills? Wherever you live, a network of paths, tracks, trails is waiting to be explored - by foot or by bike.

There's also a range of organised outdoor activities that can help you explore your local area, find out about the local environment, get involved in gardening or conservation work - and you could have fun, make new friends and get some healthy exercise in the process!

Some Background ...

The outdoors as preventative medicine

There is a growing evidence base for the range of health benefits that can be achieved through outdoor activity and contact with nature, including better mental health & well-being (through stress reduction and improved mood and self-esteem); speedier recovery from surgery and guarding against Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is essential to good health and is only available to us through exposure to sunshine.

Did you know?
Vitamin D deficiency and its health consequences are most likely in cloudy, northern countries such as Scotland.  Dundee is as far north as Alaska, the Canadian Tundra, Moscow and much of Siberia. It is also more likely in dark-skinned people and people who do not get much exposure to sunlight e.g. older people and children up to 5 years old.

Green Exercise Partnership
Scottish Natural Heritage, NHS Health Scotland and Forestry Commission Scotland form the green exercise partnership (GEP) the aim of which is to work with the health sector to achieve greater use of the outdoors to promote better health and quality of life for people in Scotland. A key area of work for GEP is helping to mainstream green exercise in health policy and practice, building on recommendations from the Equally Well report (Scottish Government 2008) for health practitioners to sign-post appropriate patients to greenspace and other outdoor places / managed activities problems.

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