Docs order a walk in the park

Friday, 15th July — By Joe Coughlan

Islington and Camden Parks for Health programme

THE Town Hall is to work with GPs to get people using parks to improve their physical and mental health.

The benefits of taking a walk through one of the borough’s green spaces or taking up an outdoor activity will be explained to patients at surgeries across Islington and Camden. The twin-borough Parks for Health programme has been described as “green social prescribing” and was launched on Thursday with a walk from Kentish Town to Caledonian Park.

Attendees were then invited to get stuck into a keep-fit aerobics session, but even a mild stroll can prove soothing to patients struggling with a range of ailments and conditions, including dementia.

Sarah-Jane Moss

The new scheme will see GPs refer residents to a “social prescribing link worker”, who will recommend suitable outdoor activities to treat a patient.

Islington’s health chief, Councillor Nurullah Turan, said: “Most of us now understand, especially post-Covid, that it’s extremely important to have access to outside places, and what better place than our parks and green spaces?”

Sarah-Jane Moss, a fitness instructor working with them, who was at Thursday’s launch, said:

“There are a lot of people with mental health conditions who feel intimidated by the gym and would rather be outside. I suffered with bad knees and lower back pain. When I went to a physio they referred me on a similar sort of health programme, showing me the best way to exercise for my condition and I got stronger.”

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