We ask people about how they keep active and well, whether they have dementia or not. This issue, we hear about getting in touch with nature.
George Gallimore, 62 in Greater Manchester
Walking in rural settings and rediscovering my old hobby of birdwatching. Usually out for three to four hours enjoying the sights and sounds of nature, and the odd egg butty.
The exercise element cannot be understated for us both – me to provide a diversion from the anticipatory grief I find myself encountering, and my wife to keep her in the best of health for as long as possible.
Couch potato expertise is no good for anyone, particularly in the dementia world.
Steven Litchfield, 69 with Alzheimer’s in Nottingham (facilitator of Friends for Life DEEP ‘Ay’e-Up Mi Duck’)
We did virtual walks on video for those who were still in isolation and delivered bedding plants to improve their gardens.
We are also involved with In at the DEEP end, a dementia group for swimmers – they switched to weekly short walks due to unavailability of pools.
We try to share the load with others, who are willing but not always able, as we know dementia means change without warnings.
June Lim Bhatty, 59 in Leicester
Walking more, exploring the wonderful countryside and stately homes. I have taken up running too. I surprised myself with achieving 5km – my first in 40 years after leaving school.
I was influenced by a story I read about a group of ladies with cancer doing a sponsored run around a park.
My family are super active, and my youngest is my personal trainer with my running!
Rebecca Morris, 34 in Conwy
I like to go for a really long walk with my husband and two dogs, at least two hours to tire the dogs and ourselves out.
I like smelling the different flowers, picking wild garlic and blackberries and trying to spot birds and different animals.
I’ve lost weight with all the extra walking. Any tensions or stresses I feel before the walk are aired. If I’m feeling under the weather or tired, then the fresh air makes me feel better and the endorphins released keep me smiling for a long time after.
Alison Anyon, 61 in Shropshire
I love gardening and walking. We have redesigned our garden to make it more manageable. We have two raised beds so that I don’t have to kneel down as much. I am trying to put in lots of perennial and herbaceous plants with lots of colour, so we can enjoy the garden all year round.
I can’t do as much walking as a few years ago due to my fibromyalgia, but I still like to get out and about, even if it’s only into town and back. However, I do need to have a stop and sit down in town before coming back.
Relaxation, fresh air, sunshine, listening to the birds sing, watching our cat in the garden, collecting leaves in the autumn, berry picking – these are all benefits from being outdoors.
Your age and genes affect your risk of developing dementia, but you can’t change them. Things you can change include keeping your mind and body active, enjoying healthier food, not smoking, drinking less alcohol, staying in touch with people, and dealing with any health problems.
If you already have dementia, the same things can help you to stay healthy and well. NHS Live Well has health and wellbeing advice for everyone.
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