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News: May 2020

Gardening found to support a positive body image

An image of wellington boots, flowers and pots to represent gardening

If you are in isolation and lucky enough to have a garden, digging, weeding and planting are great ways to boost your mental and physical wellbeing. And if you have an allotment, when you can get back to it, a recent study shows that allotment gardening promotes positive body image[i]. ‘Positive body image is beneficial because it helps to foster psychological and physical resilience, which contributes to overall wellbeing,’ say the researchers

Exercising during lock down will help support a healthy immune system

Close up of woman's trainers while out walking

Keeping up regular, daily exercise even in isolation has an important role to play in helping to maintain a healthy immune system. So says a recent study published in the journal Exercise Immunology Review[ii].  The authors recommend 30 minutes of regular moderate intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking, running or cycling, 5 times a week. ‘Provided exercise is carried out according to latest government guidance on social distancing, regular exercise can have a tremendously positive effect on our health and wellbeing, both today and for the future,’ they add.

Mind how you go

Young woman sitting in lotu position meditating and practicing mindfulness

Life gets better with age so they say, and now new research suggests this may be down to older people having the wisdom and time to use mindfulness[iii]. Their ability to focus on the present moment and to approach experiences in a non-judgmental way has been found to be a means of improving overall wellbeing.

Mindfulness skills can help boost wellbeing at any age and are particular useful for any of us still in isolation.

Here are some top tips to get you started:

Try to become aware of your thoughts and surroundings and pay attention to the present moment in an open and non-judgmental way. This will help to stop you focusing on the past or worrying about the future in an unhelpful way.

Understand that your thoughts, feelings and situations exist in the moment and will not last. This will help you to respond in a more optimistic way to challenging circumstances, such as those related to COVID-19.

Discover mindfulness via app-based programs such as Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer, Smiling Mind, and Stop, Breathe & Think.



[i] Viren Swami. Body Image Benefits of Allotment Gardening. Ecopsychology, 2020; 12 (1): 19 DOI: 10.1089/eco.2019.0032

[ii] Richard J Simpson, John P Campbell, Maree Gleeson, Karsten Krüger, David C Nieman, David B Pyne, James E Turner, Neil P Walsh. Can Exercise Affect Immune Function to Increase Susceptibility to Infection? Exerc Immunol Rev, 2020

[iii] Leeann Mahlo, Tim D. Windsor. Older and more mindful? Age differences in mindfulness components and well being. Aging & Mental Health, 2020; 1 DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2020.1734915

All images: Shutterstock

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