Green Exercise

Green spaces such as parks, forests, hills provide an opportunity for people to take time out from their daily routine and stressful environments and engage in nature, connect with their senses in outdoor activities.  As populations become more urbanised, green spaces will provide a future key role in the promotion of health and well-being.  Outdoor activities and health and well-being has many benefits, such as when visiting green spaces, simply viewing nature may assist in the maintenance of health.  Wolf & Wohlfant (2014) claim as people visit green spaces regularly and engage in physical fitness, they are less likely to be overweight and by integrating regular visits to a park establishes good health and fitness routines which acts as an intervention to a sedentary life. 

Forests are natural environments usually defined as ‘areas covered by trees.  Forest bathing is a term used known as (‘shinrin-yoku’ in Japanese) it is a traditional meditative practice characterized by walking in a forest or other types of exercises which take place combined with awareness and contemplation of the surrounding natural environment (Antonelli et al. 2019). Although forest bathing originated in Japan, it has become popular in western countries to promote relaxation and aid in stress relief.  Current evidence suggests there are additional benefits such as an improved immune system, cardiorespiratory and respiratory system and elevated mood.

Studies undertaken by Firby & Raine (2022) outline in their research there is  increasing evidence to suggest the numerous health benefits from engagement with the outdoors, including enhanced immune functioning, improvement in sleep quality, mental health and well-being outcomes include reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression, stress reduction and increased self-reported happiness.

References:

Antonelli, M,  Donelli, D, Carlone, L, Maggini, V Firenzuoli, F & Bedeschi, E (2022) Effects of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) on individual well-being: an umbrella review, International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 32:8, 1842-1867, doi: 10.1080/09603123.2021.1919293

Firby H, Raine R. (2022) Engaging with nature and the outdoors: A scoping review of therapeutic applications in contemporary occupational therapy. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 0(0). doi:10.1177/03080226221126893

Wolf, I. D. & Wohlfant, T. (2014) Walking, hiking and running in parks: A multidisciplinary assessment of health & well-being benefits. 130. Pp.89-103

Prevention of knee injuries in female footballers

Football soccer is the most popular sport worldwide, there are around 265 million players with trends showing a rapid growth in the sport and in particular female players. One of the most common injuries is that of the knee with the anterior cruciate ligament being the most serious in terms of the onset of osteoarthritis and long-term absence from the sport.

Knee injuries in female footballers is higher compared to males with adolescent girls being at risk most.  Studies undertaken by Walden, et al (2012) suggest in their data that a programme consisting of a neuromuscular warm up significantly reduced ACL injuries, these exercises consisted of core stability and knee control activities. 

Performance in football is determined by many factors, physiological, psychological and biomechanical, although the emphasis has been on the main factors of health-related fitness such as cardiorespiratory fitness, flexibility, speed, muscular strength and endurance, Nikolaidis (2010) states a question on the contribution of core stability in injury prevention and health has also been raised.   Core stability may provide several benefits to the musculoskeletal system, ranging from low back health and preventing knee ligament injury by providing a foundation for greater force production by upper and lower extremities in sport performance.

Core stability is the ability to control the position and motion of the trunk over the pelvis to allow optimal output, transfer and control of force. Nikolaidis (2010) argues decreased core stability was reported to be associated with a higher risk of injuries in the knee or lower back.  This is supported by Myklebust & Steffen (2009) who claims prevention programmes should be implemented from the ages of 12-14, focusing on a warm up with good movement patterns, exercises which address and improve the lower extremity, core strength as well as awareness and neuromuscular control during static and dynamic movements.

References:

Myklebust, G & Steffen, K (2009) Prevention of ACL injuries: how, when and who. doi:org/10.1007/500167-009-0826-9

Nikolaidis, P (2010) Core stability of male and female football players. doi: 2478/v10101-010-0007-9

Walden, M, Atroshi, I, Magnusson, H, Wagner, P & Hagglund, M (2012) Prevention of acute knee injuries in adolescent female football players: BMJ 2012:344:e3042

Live on line Fitness Community

Live on line fitness community classes are a superb way of connecting with like minded people who share a common interest in health and well-being. Live on line classes also offer a wider selection of classes. In studio classes you may rush to your class from work, however with live on line there is no need to travel, you will reduce air pollution and save money as live on line is cheaper. Moreover, small group live on line offers a tailored, personalised exercise class which can help with motivation.

Camino & Resilience

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The route continued to Palas De Rei. After leaving Portomarin, crossing the River Mino we continued uphill steadily through woodland, the rain continued and got heavier and heavier. Continuing through small hamlets, passing the Hospital de la Cruz. Arriving at Vendas de Naron to get a ‘pilgrim stamp’ the old Romanesque Chapel, then continuing along the paved path, arriving at Sierra de Ligonde which offered fantastic views over the valleys. Particular parts of the route were isolated and quiet, apart from a rather large dog. The fog was dense and we were soaked through.

Approaching A Calzada the weather was so bad, we took shelter under a tree. There were other walkers, one an Australian man, we had met further back in other towns.  After discussing the weather, our blisters, stories of one walker getting frostbite back in the Pyrenees, our conversation compared the weather to life and the Camino, there are good and bad times, but we must press forwards.

The Camino de Santiago builds resilience, both emotionally and physically, it enables us to develop a positive mind and can-do-attitude.  We can integrate resilience into our lives on a daily basis, by being more active, getting more sleep and eating well, forgiving ourselves and resolving conflict. These small steps can help us improve our mental health and to face everyday challenges.