Parks for… everyday wellbeing

A picture of people taking part in an exercise class in Caledonian Park

Michael O’Dwyer – who runs a team of link workers at Age UK Islington, who often recommend clients spend time in green spaces – talks about how small doses of time outdoors can have big benefits

Why is it good to get out?

Visiting a park even once a week can improve your general health by 43 percent – which is amazing, if you think about it. Being in nature can lift your mood and help you feel calmer. It also makes people feel more connected to their community.

For those who don’t walk much, adding even a small amount of walking can have huge benefits. Weaving it into your routine – taking a longer route to the shops through a park, say – can make it easier to keep it up.

What would you say to people who don’t normally visit parks?

Make that your aim of the week! We have some great parks in Islington. You could try an organised walk or activity to meet others or learn new skills.

What if the weather’s bad?

There’s a saying that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing! Charity shops are a great way to find cheap, warm layers and waterproofs. There are many organisations who can help with grants for warm clothes, too. It’s worth giving us a ring to see if you’re eligible.

Some of our parks – including Cally and Whittington – have a cafe you can duck into if the heavens open. If you come to one of our regular park cuppa events at Gillespie Park, you get a free cup of tea!

To check if you’re eligible for a grant, adults over 16 can call Age UK Islington on 020 7281 6018. You can also visit the Islington Council website for information about parks in Islington.

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