The Royal Parks calls on locked-down Londoners to take a daily walk in the park to stay well over winter
The Royal Parks charity is launching a ‘Welcome Winter’ campaign, inviting Londoners to help beat those lockdown blues and stay well over the coming months by simply taking a 20-minute walk in the park every day.
The charity, which cares for London’s eight historic Royal Parks and other important green spaces in the city, encourages people to rally against the rain and be bold in the cold by wrapping up warm and walking to visit the incredible nature on their doorstep.
Londoners are invited to enjoy the stark winter beauty of their local green space where they can connect safely with people they live with, their support bubble or with one other person during the national restrictions and beyond. The parks are a great place to enjoy the fresh air, connect with nature, play with your children and stay fit – whether that’s by walking, jogging or cycling.
Research suggests that the pandemic has negatively affected mental health. Levels of mental distress such as anxiety, depression and stress increased up by 8.1% at the end of March and early April 2020, compared with 2017-2019, according to Public Health England*. In particular, adults with low household income or socioeconomic position, who have been more adversely affected by the coronavirus crisis, have reported greater levels of anxiety and uncertainty during this time – getting outside for exercise can be a great way to improve your mood.
The ‘Welcome Winter’ campaign is reminding all Londoners that spending time outdoors in green spaces can benefit both mind and body. Making a habit of taking at least a 20-minute walk for a daily dose of daylight during the dark winter months can boost people’s mood and help keep them healthy.
The charity encourages people not to drive to the parks during the busiest times such as weekends and lunchtime and to consider visiting the parks at quieter times, such as early in the morning or during the week.
For those who are not able to leave their homes during lockdown, The Royal Parks is offering a range of digital learning resources to help bring the parks to their sofas. This includes nature trails, craft sessions, storytelling and podcasts uncovering the parks’ history.