The Great Outdoors
For Great Outdoors Month (1 - 30 June 2021), we asked staff from across LTHT to show a kindness to one another and share a favourite walk, beauty spot, or outdoors activity that gives them the perfect wellbeing refresh.
Spending quality time outdoors has been shown time and again to have an almost universal benefit on overall health and wellbeing. Throughout the pandemic, people have been exploring local walking routes, taken up new outdoor hobbies, and used outdoor locations to meet socially.
In short, the outdoors have been a lifesaver, and whether you're into hill-walking, rock-climbing, forest-bathing, wild-swimming, or simply taking a seat and drinking in the view, the benefits to both physical and mental health are enormous.
Presenting the Green-space Gallery
In our Green-space Gallery, ten colleagues share a photo that sums up their favourite outdoors spot and tell us about the activity they love to do there. We hope you will find some inspiration here to try your own outdoors adventure! Thank you to everyone who submitted photos - sadly we couldn't feature them all!
Stephen Morris, Clinical Pharmacist (Leeds Children's Hospital) - Open water swimming at Otley Sailing Club
"The photo is taken at Otley Sailing Club. Unfortunately, it is private land, so you have to be a member of the Leeds Bradford Triathlon Club to access. You book a swim session using their website. This means the swimming properly is supervised with kayaks and first-aiders if needed.
"I am very lucky that this location is very close to where I live. Simply put, open water swimming is amazing! It is more than just exercise, it takes you outside of your comfort zone. There are so many benefits. Professor Mike Tipton spoke about this recently on BBC Radio 4. The best way I can describe it is to think how we exercise to strengthen our muscles, or do sudoku puzzles to strengthen our brain. Going into cold water (in a wetsuit usually!) stresses our body in a way nothing else does. You do get used to it, and you can also get boots and gloves for when it's really cold! At the lake there is usually lots of wildlife to see, in and around the lake. It really gets you close to nature and makes you feel more connected to the world."
Gary Bingham, Senior Business Analyst - Walking up Pen-y-ghent
"One of my favourite and easy weekend walks is Pen-y-ghent in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. Would highly recommend! Sadly, working from home has meant that I'm far less active than I normally would be. Going on a walk for a short period of time allows me to try and separate my home and work life, which as we can all appreciate has become jumbled together. As well as a gentle kick of endorphins, which really helps my mental health and well being, I believe that getting out into the air helps us connect with nature."
Emmanouela Kampouraki, Specialist Clinical Pharmacist - Cycling to Cleethorpes
"Cleethorpes, by train or car - we cycled. Physical exercise is a great way to revitalise and entertain ourselves while connecting with nature. Helps with mood, socialisation, mental health and stress reduction."
Kerry Jeavons, Paediatric Consultant - Cycling round Malham Tarn
"This was a pic from Malham Tarn when we were on the "Cycle the Dales" Settle Long Loop ride (plus an extra loop round the tarn because it's so pretty!)
"Mountain biking (especially with an electric MTB) is an amazing way to get out and see really remote areas, get an all-over-body workout and have a great time. You can cover much more ground than hiking so can find some real hidden gems!"
Sarah Williams, Specialist Biomedical Scientist - Fountains Abbey
"I find walking around the Abbey ruins and water garden very soothing. It’s a beautiful place that is always peaceful and there is a great tea room where you can sit and enjoy the views!"
Kirsty Heslop, Outpatients Site Manager - Filey Beach
"I love visiting the beach, no matter what the weather! I am a keen amateur photographer and carry my camera wherever I go. This shot shows you can find a beautiful moment even on a rainy day."
Tim Palfreyman, Anaesthetist - Open water swimming at Ripon Race Course
"Open water swimming helps me relax and feel fitter. You have to join the NYP triathlon club to swim at Ripon race course, but you don’t have to be a triathlete, and there is always a safety team. It’s very friendly and great value."
Richard Pierce, HR Consultant - Penistone Hill Country Park
"This is Penistone Hill Country Park on Haworth Moor. Its a great place to walk my dog, relax and keep up my daily steps. Pick up a walking leaflet from Haworth Tourist Information Centre or download the ‘Penistone Hill Heritage Trail’ walk from the Bradford City Council."
Michael Graham, Assistant Patient Services Coordinator - Priest's Hole
"This is Priest's Hole (Dove Crag), Lake District. Walking in the mountains is a very cathartic experience for me and can be a challenge to myself that obstacles can be overcome with persistence. The relief and sense of achievement when "summitting" is very intrinsically rewarding. It also makes a great spot for lunch! Not only is it an activity that can get you fitter, it also helps with the mental health side of things too. Being up there helps me leave the work side of things behind which can be a welcome relief!
"Start at Brothers Water car park and follow the path south past Brothers Water - it heads up west on a clearly defined path. Priest's Hole is marked on the map with the cave a short scramble up from the path. It is directly above the P (of Priest's Hole) on a 1:25:000 scale OS map. It is a short 4km walk from the car park but this can be extended by carrying on up the path up to Dove Crag and over Hart Crag up to Fairfield, which offers a stunning view over the Lake District and the Irish Sea in the distance."
Kerry Parry, Clinical Pharmacy Team Leader - Saltburn-by-the-Sea
"Saltburn-by-the-Sea, is along the North Yorkshire coast, an easy car journey up the A1M and A19. Whether it's an evening picnic on the beach or an early morning walk, Saltburn is quieter than other popular seasides and has a large stretch of beach which welcomes dogs.
"The sea, the wind and the cliffs provide that much-needed burst of nature to reset and renew, never as important as now. I feel energised and at peace strolling the beach with my family, listening to the waves and feeling the breeze while admiring the surfers. My summer goal is to be brave enough to go for a swim rather than a knee-deep paddle."