People in Devon are being encouraged to get active this May and take steps towards a more naturally healthy lifestyle.
Enjoying Devon’s beautiful environment can have huge benefits for your wellbeing. There are lots of ways you can get involved; going for a wild swim, walk, cycle ride or just being somewhere outdoors where you feel happy!
Devon’s Local Nature Partnership (DLNP) is hoping that many of us will feel inspired to take advantage of the opportunities on offer around the county and reduce time we spend in the doctors waiting room!
“It is not a pill or potion, but we should consider connecting with nature as a prescription. It’s one that works, costs nothing and has no side effects.” said Dr James Szymankiewicz, a North Devon GP and Chair of the DLNP who is passionate about protecting and managing Devon's environment and reconnecting communities with the natural world.
“It is so easy to do, just take that step outside to start with. The most important thing is you enjoy it. Think of it as an opportunity to invest a bit of time in looking after yourself, your family and this place we call home.”
There will be lots of fantastic events and activities going on throughout the month for people of all ages to get involved in.
Why not go for a coastal wildlife walk at Northam Burrows, try some Forest Tai Chi in Okehampton or even head out for a canoe safari at Seaton wetlands. More details about events and opportunities are available on the Devon Local Nature Partnership website https://www.naturaldevon.org.uk/naturallyhealthymonth/
Organisers and participants are being encouraged to inspire others by using the hashtags #NaturallyHealthy #DevonCAN on social media.
Naturally Healthy May is supported by the ‘Connecting Actively to Nature' programme (CAN) which is managed by Active Devon and aimed at the 55+ age group.
“This is potentially life changing for some people.” said Tom Mack, Active Devon.
“For many of us, going for a stroll, doing some yoga outdoors or going for a walk on the beach and dipping our toes in the sea is quite a normal every day thing to do.”
“Actually, for someone who is not exercising, being active or getting out there in nature, or has some barriers to get through, it can be quite a big deal. If they can overcome that, perhaps with a little help from this initiative, the benefits are even greater.”
Naturally Healthy May is led by Devon Local Nature Partnership and supports local organisations to host events and activities throughout the month. It brings together a wide range of partners from health, wellbeing, community and environment sectors. If you are interested in getting involved in Naturally Healthy May you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Kirstie.Pritchard@devon.gov.uk.
Dr James Szymankiewicz said: “I think most of us feel that how we live is not good for our physical health or our mental wellbeing. We spend too much time inside, too much screen time, and too much time quite stressed. Naturally Healthy May is an opportunity to reframe what’s important to us by getting outside more and connecting to the natural world. By using this as a launchpad, people will recognise the value of that and embed it in their day to day life.”