Celebrating the benefits of better health through exercise

Visit to the Tayview Community Garden – photo courtesy of The Courier

Tayside partners who are working to encourage better health through exercise visited a Dundee community garden to demonstrate how local people are enjoying the benefits of fresh air activities.

NHS Tayside, leisure trusts, the environment sector, neighbourhood services, the voluntary sector and children & family services are engaging with communities in Angus, Dundee and Perth & Kinross around the National Physical Activity Implementation Plan.

Representatives from the Scottish Government joined the Tayside partners in a visit to the Tayview Community Garden, where people are getting outside to keep healthy through activity.

NHS Tayside lead for physical activity Mary Colvin said, “It is a key public health priority in Tayside and in Scotland that we make it easier for children and adults who are inactive to sit less and move more.

“One of the key ways we can do that is use our natural health service, which is about maximising the potential to achieve health and social care outcomes by improving the foundation of our green health assets – places, spaces, access networks and by increasing opportunities for nature-based interventions.

“In the UK, prescribing exercise is recognised by a growing number of practitioners as a helpful intervention to manage pain, help people stop smoking, lower blood pressure and prevent type 2 diabetes. In April, health and care staff in Dundee will test out green health prescriptions as part of a social prescribing programme. People will be able to choose from various options in their own communities.”

Social prescribing means that health professionals can, in addition to the medical service they provide, refer patients to link workers who support patients to access community activities such as physical activity, learning new skills, volunteering, art therapy, befriending and self-help. Green health prescriptions are issued to recommend that patients spend more time in green and open space areas.

Councillor Anne Rendall, Dundee depute neighbourhood services convener, added, “We are so fortunate to have so many parks and green spaces in the city and we are encouraging people to get out there and make a difference for their long-term health.

“These days, due to the nature of work and the popularity of social media on screens, there is a danger that you can spend long periods of time not moving.

“It is great to see examples like the Tayview Community Garden, where people are using this great space to get active and enjoy gardening in their own neighbourhood.”

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