During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak when people need to stay at home as much as possible to protect everyone’s health, it is more important than ever that we all take care of our health.
NHS South Sefton and NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), together with Sefton Council and Living Well Sefton want to remind people that staying physically fit not only helps fight off sickness but also works to improve mental health.
Now that spring is here the longer, lighter days can have a positive impact on people’s mood. Increased exposure to sunlight, boosts vitamin D levels, which help us absorb minerals that are important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles and helps improve the immune system.
Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Taking a leisurely walk, cycle or jog, alone or with a member of your household is a great way to keep fit. Walking and jogging have a number of benefits for our health, such as reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, helping maintain a healthy weight and helping to keep our bones strong.”
Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “You don’t always need to leave your home to find ways to keep active and stay healthy either, and there is a range of local and national support that you can get help and ideas from.”
Together with its partners, Living Well Sefton is continuing to provide health and wellbeing support and information to residents during this time, offering help around keeping active and eating well, along with stopping smoking, drinking sensibly and advice on improving your mental wellbeing.
Gardening is another great way to make the most of the spring weather, as it can be a relaxing activity with numerous health benefits. If you don’t have a garden, balconies and any outdoor spaces can be used for planting herbs, flowers or house plants in pots and trays.
The benefits of gardening can include reducing stress, improved heart health and burning off calories through more active gardening such as digging.
For those who can’t go outside, there are lots of things you can do in your house or garden to keep fit. Great online resources include:
Along with getting enough exercise, it’s important that people make sure they’re eating well. This is a great time to try out new healthy recipes, and get the kids involved in a fun family activity. The Change 4 Life website has access to dozens of exciting healthy recipes with something to suit everyone.
Margaret Jones, Interim Director of Public Health at Sefton Council, said: “Although the current government guidelines mean that gyms and leisure centres aren’t open, there are still plenty of ways you can stay fit. Keeping active will not only improve your physical health, but it will also help to boost your mood. You should aim to do some type of physical activity each day.”
Louise McDade, Living Well Sefton Programme Manager, said: “This is a very difficult time for people, particularly those who are isolated. During this time we have seen a fantastic community response from the community and voluntary sector, and volunteers. Staying connected is important to your health and wellbeing and the Living Well team and Sefton CVS are here to support you with your wellbeing and help you stay connected.”
For more details of the advice and support from Living Well Sefton visit: http://www.livingwellsefton.org.uk/
Government guidelines recommend that people need to stay at home as much as possible. The only reasons you should leave your home are:
- Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
- One form of exercise per day, such as a run, walk, cycle: alone or with a member of your household
- Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- Travel to/from work but only when necessary and where you can’t work from home