An accord between National Parks England and Public Health England explains how the two organisations plan to take joint action on improving health and wellbeing through England’s national parks.
England has 10 national parks: the Broads, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, New Forest, Northumberland, North York Moors, Peak District, South Downs and Yorkshire Dales. These parks cover more than 9% of the country, are generally free at the point of access and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Half of England’s population also live within an hour’s travel of a national park.
The parks could be a valuable resource for improving health and wellbeing, as growing evidence supports the value of access to good quality green space for both physical and mental health. In addition, green spaces also provide environmental benefits, including greater air and water quality and a decreased risk of flooding.
National Parks England currently support public health outcomes in a variety of ways, including promoting walking and cycling and improving routes, running programmes to reduce health inequalities and support accessibility needs, working with schools and other education providers, encouraging economic development and providing volunteering opportunities.
The partnership will see National Parks England and Public Health England work together to ‘unlock and maximise the huge opportunity that national parks provide for delivering public health outcomes.’
Image: © FHT
Many of us feel that we just don’t have time to do all the things we would like to. This can be overwhelming and detrimental to your health. It may also leave you feeling that you are not in control of your life.
The NHS (via Twitter) has recently highlighted how good time-management can address this by helping you feel more relaxed and in control of your life again.
Read the NHS’ time-management tips below:
- Work out your goals
Identifying long-term goals can help you plan better and focus on appropriate medium-term and short-term goals.
- Make a list
To-do lists are a great way to stay organised. Make sure your list is somewhere you will see it often (for example, on your phone).
- Focus on results
Concentrate on results not how busy you are. Spending more time on something doesn’t necessarily achieve more.
- Have a lunch break
Working through your lunch break can be counter productive. Taking at least 30 minutes away will help you be more productive in the afternoon.
- Prioritise important tasks
Categorise tasks in order of importance. Tasks can be grouped into four categories: ‘urgent and important’, ‘not urgent but important’, ‘urgent but not important’ and ‘neither urgent nor important’.
- Practise the four ‘D’s’
Many people suffer from email stress. Making a decision the first time you open an email is crucial for good time-management. The four D’s for dealing with emails are:
- Delete – you can probably delete half your emails immediately.
- Do – if the email is urgent and can be completed quickly.
- Delegate – if the email can be dealt with by someone else.
- Defer – set aside time later to spend on emails that require longer action.
International evidence and the UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMOs) guidelines support the idea that general health benefits will be achieved with 150 minutes of physical activity each week, equating to just under 22 minutes of exercise each day.
While supporting these guidelines, researchers from Public Health England recently looked at the benefits of brisk walking for people over the age of 40 who were physically inactive. Their research revealed that just over 40% of people between 40-60 had not walked at a brisk or fast pace for 10 minutes or more in the previous month.
Furthermore, brisk walking for 10 minutes each day, for seven days, was shown to provide a number of health benefits for people who are currently inactive. This included improvements in physical fitness, mood, quality of life and ability to perform everyday physical activities. In addition, it can increase body leanness and healthier weight, as well as reduce the risk of early death by 15%.
Public Health England suggests that the 10 minutes of brisk walking could form a valuable part of a weekly 150-minute programme of physical activity.
Read the summary of evidence
Scientists from Newcastle University and Stiefel have discovered that a protein in the skin barrier could be key to triggering eczema.
The protein, called filaggrin, is said to impact other proteins and pathways in the skin, leading the development of eczema.
Atopic eczema affects up to 10% of adults and 20% of children in the UK and often leads to severe itching, which can have a significant effect on wellbeing and sleep.
The above-mentioned research is said to have built on an important discovery in Dundee, which indicated that a lack of filaggrin in the skin could cause a skin condition called ichthyosis vulgaris, which is ‘strongly linked to the development of atopic eczema, as well as other allergic diseases such as hayfever and asthma’.
Access the study here
Sales of prestige anti-pollution skincare in the UK have grown by 30% in the past six months, according to the NPD Group, a global information company.
Furthermore, sales of anti-pollution face masks have increased even more dramatically, by as much as 112% in the first half of this year, while a 62% growth was reported for anti-pollution moisturiser.
June Jensen, Director, NPD UK Beauty says: ‘The trend for anti-pollution skincare emerged a couple of years ago and has made a significant impact in the prestige beauty market. At first, just a few brands launched targeted anti-pollution products, but now, as the market develops we are seeing more brands introducing products that are specifically designed to protect the skin from pollution.’
Read an article about anti-pollution skincare in the FHT online reading room
Postural awareness training can be a useful tool in improving chronic neck pain in clients, according to a study published in Spine.
The study aimed to establish whether postural awareness contributed to exercise-induced improvements in neck pain intensity, with a secondary analysis examining tai chi and neck exercises.
More than 70 participants with chronic nonspecific neck pain were randomly assigned to a 12-week programme of tai chi or conventional neck exercises, including interoceptive and postural awareness. Pain intensity was measured using the visual analogue scale at the start and after 12 weeks.
The participants reported significant reductions in pain intensity and anxiety in both groups, which appeared to coincide with the increase in postural awareness. The study’s researchers concluded that training in postural awareness might be an important mechanism in exercise-based interventions for chronic neck pain.
For more information about the study click here
Read an article by Jane Johnson on postural correction of the cervical spine (neck) in our online Reading Room
FHT Vice President, Christopher Byrne, looks at ways to preserve and boost your energy in the latest issue of Holistic Therapist Magazine.
Some of his tips include:
And lots more! You can read the full article here.