Feel good adventures improve mental health in the over 55s
Spending time in the fresh air is instantly uplifting, but when you add opportunities to try something new, like kayaking along a pretty river or cycling in nature, the improvement in wellbeing is transformational. Skern Lodge have partnered with CAN, a Devon Local Nature Partnership programme, supported by Sport England and managed by Active, to create opportunities for the over 55s to reap the rewards of connecting with nature again, and all the associated ‘feel good’ benefits.
Feeling happier and healthier
Particularly for the over 55s who may feel less mobile, confidence in physical abilities and capability in general can be at a very low point. Physical activity in nature and the feeling of being part of something bigger than ourselves really enhances our mood, health and wellbeing. It also gives us the chance to reflect, relax and gain perspective. CAN projects have been designed to take place in nature and support participants that may not get there on their own, due to boundaries including: health conditions, poor fitness, isolation, being too busy to get outdoors, or considering activity is not for them.
“Feeling connected to nature is good for you. Being physically active is very good for you. Being Naturally Active is EVEN better.”*
Outdoor adventure at Skern Lodge
Skern Lodge is an experiential learning and adventure centre located in an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ with spectacular sea views of the Devon coast. From the end of February this year, Skern Lodge are giving the over 55s the opportunity to become fully immersed in nature and a chance to both improve wellbeing and get active again. As a way for participants to regain a positive mental attitude utilising the outdoors, Skern Lodge have developed a funded programme of gentle full and half-day activity experiences including, a cycle along the Tarka Trail and building water confidence with paddle skills. Through their progressive itinerary, the final day will reflection all that has been achieved, including gains in confidence and the chance to hone new skills.
In the safe hands of Skern Lodge’s adventure experts, following their outdoor experience, the aim is to inspire and motivate individuals to make a difference in their lives. Some may go on to continue activities, such as, cycling as a new-found hobby, and all will be encouraged to spend more time outdoors immersed in nature as a way of living a healthier and happier life.
Deputy Centre Manager for Skern Lodge, Tom Humphreys, said: “Our expert teams know how to balance encouragement and reassurance to support individuals in developing their self-esteem and confidence. More than a ‘feel good’ programme for the over 55s,it will be amazing to see the positive difference this type of programme will make. We look forward to welcoming participants from February to April 2023.”
Evidence and insight
Research shows that the impact of nature-based physical activity increases motivation, increases opportunities for social contact, improves cardiac health and lowers high blood pressure, enables emotional regulation and brain growth.* All hugely beneficial. Furthermore, in a recent report by the British Medical Council, it has been proven that access to local green spaces increases the probability that individuals will achieve the recommended physical activity guidelines by over four times*
There is also evidence of the wellbeing benefits of spending time outdoors in nature in DEFRA’S’ (Department for Environment, Food &Rural Affairs) ‘Evidence Statement’. There is a strong link to improved mental and physical health when exposed to the natural world.*
Discover more about Skern Lodge, here
* Active Devon, Connecting with Nature, www.activedevon.org
(use behind link: https://www.activedevon.org/introducing-the-connecting-actively-to-nature-can-campaign/#:~:text=CAN%20is%20a%20Devon%20Local,opportunities%20or%20develop%20existing%20ones)
* Health and Wellbeing in an Outdoor and Adventure Sport Context, Dr John Allanet al, MDPI, 2019
* British Medical Council Public Health, 16:420, doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3050-9