Tags: Active Communities
Posted: Mon, 10 Jan 2022 14:57
It's dark, cold and pretty miserable outside, so it can be hard to get motivated when it comes to being active. But in these most challenging of times, moving more - however you do it - has never been more critically important. That's why our team at Active Oxfordshire is signing up to RED January, to move every day and keep the winter blues away.
Here's just a few of the reasons why we've decided to sign up:
Lucy Tappin: I'm taking part in RED January this year to raise awareness of mental health, support my own mental and physical wellbeing as well as raise money for a fantastic charity.
Being on the Active Oxfordshire RED January Team will help to highlight the relationship between sport, physical activity and mental wellbeing through family, friends, and throughout our collaborative work. It's great to have a positive and hopeful challenge to motivate us through the colder darker months and uncertain times.
I will be aiming to get back into a good running routine after completing the Couch to 5k https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/get-running-with-couch-to-5k/ last year. I will aim to go on family dog walks as much as I can and try to find new geocaches on the way https://www.geocaching.com/. I have also started a Free Beginner Yoga App on my phone. I have never really got on with Yoga but this is quick, easy to fit in and has daily reminders so I don't forget!
Bev: I signed up because I think daily exercising in January helps burn off the Christmas calories and helps your mental well being in what is otherwise a cold, grey month. To keep moving I will be out running hoping to achieve my annual 5K target, continuing to do my weekly personal training sessions at the gym and daily walking of my dog.
Steph: I am doing RED January because I want to practice what we preach which is to be physically active. I want to strengthen my body but also improve my mental wellbeing (and shed a few Christmas pounds whilst I'm at it!). My aim is to swim three times a week and walk/jog the other days.
Matt: I read this article from The Guardian, 100 ways to slightly improve your life without really trying | Life and style | The Guardian it's a fun list of little changes, that build up to a lot – by coincidence over the past year, I've actually started to do, and really value a number of these, and so I thought I should pick up a few others.
Straight away Number 1 on the list is "Exercise on a Monday night (nothing fun happens on a Monday night)," and there are a number of other ideas that have a hidden activity within them, including Number 7 "Plant spring bulbs, even if they're just in a pot." Something I plan to do with my daughter.
Natalie: I have signed up for Red January as I have a new puppy and have just moved into a new village in South Oxfordshire. Walking or running 5 miles a day will enable me to explore my new area of Cholsey as well as meeting some of the local people.
Josh: I've signed up to RED January to give a bit of a structure to keeping active this month and to make sure that I fit in some movement during lunch times. Getting out and moving over lunch time breaks up my day, and stops our dog, Ralph, getting too rowdy in the afternoons.
Rich: I decided to sign up for RED January not only to improve my physical and mental health, but to be part of an activity challenge with the rest of the Active Oxfordshire team, supporting each other to get out and move more. After a few months of over indulging and the extra cheese and mince pies over Christmas this challenge gives me the motivation to get back on track with my fitness and the many benefits to my health and wellbeing for everyday life.
My plan for RED January is to keep my exercise varied…going out for a run, sessions at the gym, football matches and fun family walks in the countryside. The variety helps to keep me motivated and I'm sure I will joined by my children on the occasional run to keep me company.
You can find out more about RED January and get started here: https://redtogether.co.uk/
Posted: Fri, 26 Nov 2021 11:40
Why Health Walks are more vitally important than ever: Pat Kennedy, Health Walk Leader and Active Ambassador
Active Ambassador Pat Kennedy has been running Health Walks for over 10 years. In this new blog, Pat reflects on the critical importance of walking for both our physical and mental health.
Every Wednesday I lead a group of six walkers, or so, in South Oxford. We have a regular pattern of walks which include parks and riverside walks along the Thames and local lakes. The walks are usually about two miles in length; we always finish with refreshments and a chat.
I trained as a Health Walk Leader in 2010. The emphasis of the training at that time was that a walk would be particularly beneficial if the walkers raised their heart rate and became a little breathless during the walk. That stressed the physical impact of walking to improve our health - at the time, there was little discussion about the psychological aspect of this group activity.
Interestingly, research since then has placed a different emphasis on the value of walking. Research papers suggest that being in the open air, especially with views of trees and green spaces has the effect of lowering blood pressure. The sight of running water also has a beneficial calming effect. Research also suggests that being mindful and aware of nature during a walk is good, as worrying thoughts are then suppressed which increases the health benefits of walking.
South Oxford Health Walks
The walks in South Oxford encompass many of these features so that we are able to enjoy a variety of trees and wildlife. During our walks, we have seen a fox, muntjac deer, cormorants, a jay, a kingfisher, herons and, last week, a gaggle of geese.
The pandemic and resultant social isolation has made us all more aware of the importance of regular social contact. Walkers look forward to the regular walks and chats during them. We also join together after the walk for refreshments for half an hour. Conversations are wide- ranging and we have enjoyed anecdotes about holidays, childhood and exchanged views about exhibitions and places of interest.
Health Walks take place across the city and some walkers from the Hinksey Park group regularly join the other walks. For example, the Bury Knowle walk which take place on Fridays and the city centre walk which meets outside John Lewis on Tuesdays.
New walkers are always welcome - you can find out more details about the walks here: Oxford City Health Walks
Health Walk Leader, Hinksey Park