PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 September 2019
Nordic walking in Haldon Forest. Picture; Age UK
Exercise is therapeutic, and so is being outside in the natural environment. Therefore, doing both at once has got to be even better for boosting mental wellbeing.
That is why there are various initiatives under way in Devon to encourage people to get out into the countryside, walking, running or cycling. Active Devon, which runs the ‘Connecting Actively to Nature’ project, is particularly keen to encourage older people to reap the benefits of outdoor exercise, and organises free events called Love Later Life, in conjunction with Age UK. These events are designed to be suitable for people over 50, with activities for all levels of fitness.
The next of these events will be in Haldon Forest Park, near Exeter, on Wednesday, September 25. The activities on offer will include a variety of walks for all abilities, guided cycling, gentle Pilates and an introduction to orienteering.
There will also be ‘forest bathing’, which is simply the experience of immersing oneself in the natural environment and being aware of all the sights, sounds, smells and sensations.
Also on offer will be ‘gong bathing’, in which the sounds and vibrations from gongs are used to help people reach a state of deep relaxation.
There will be instructors and forest rangers on hand to help and advise, and all equipment will be provided.
Toby Bowen-Scott, Haldon Forest park manager, said: “We’re delighted to continue our partnership with Age UK Devon and Active Devon, who share our commitment to connecting people to the great outdoors.
“We have recently completed a number of developments at Haldon Forest Park which will help us to ensure that visitors of all ages and abilities can enjoy the physical and mental benefits of being active in the forest, whether they’re breathing in the fresh air, learning about our special wildlife, or building their fitness and co-ordination on a trail.”
These developments include shorter and fully accessible walking trails, extra seating, and a covered area for yoga.
Organisers of the forest taster day hope it will inspire older people to try new outdoor activities, or restart an old hobby that will take them out into the natural environment.
The day runs from 10am until 2pm. For further information call Age UK on 0333 241 2340.
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