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How Getting Outside Could Brighten Your Day (in just 10 minutes!)


Term three is upon us and with it busy study areas, demanding revision schedules and exam stress. This is also a time when those things we know to be so important for our health and wellbeing get put aside. Boring! Give me just ten minutes and hopefully I can change your mind.

As Health and Wellbeing Coordinator for Warwick Sport, I support people to become active as a way of enhancing health and wellbeing across our university campus, a role I feel truly passionate about. I am also a part-time PhD student currently working hard to get my thesis written up before the end of the year! (You may have seen me in the library or Oculus building bright and early, squeezing an hour or so of PhD study in before heading to Warwick Sport).

Balancing different commitments can often be challenging. I am no stranger to feeling a little overwhelmed, a bit stressed and dare I say it a little disconnected from time-to-time. I’ll also let you into another secret, I enjoy exercise and should know better than anyone the benefits of an active lifestyles, nonetheless I still find myself letting other things take priority. This term I have made a commitment to myself to get outside and do a little activity each and every day (come rain or shine). This is why I think you should join me…

Based on more than ten years of research across a range of contexts, experts from the University of Essex have shown that physical activity in natural outdoor settings and Green Spaces improves health and well-being. In fact people who are physically active in natural environments at least once per week are 50% less likely to experience poor mental health, with each additional activity session associated with a further 6% reduction in risk of poor mental health (Mitchell, 2013). We are fortunate to study and work on a leafy green campus with immediate access to an abundance of Green Spaces including Tocil Woods and Lakes, Windmill Hill and the Connect to Kenilworth path as well as our university Activity Zone located at Claycroft.

Green Exercise, taking part in activity in Green Spaces, is psychologically restorative, can enhance emotional wellbeing, improve attentional capacity (enhanced studying) and be conducive to greater social interaction than exercising indoors. Becoming more active and taking advantage of our campus green spaces doesn’t take a lot of time or effort and is FREE.

Five Top Tips to Brighten Your Day With Green Exercise

  • Have fun! Being active doesn’t have to be serious. Grab a Frisbee, pick up a tennis ball or see how high you can bounce or swing at the Claycroft Activity Zone. Anything that gets your body moving will be good for your wellbeing.
  • Get others involved. People who tell others about their plans to be active are more likely to stick to them. Even better get them involved! You are less likely to cancel activity plans if you know someone else is counting on you.
  • Get walking! 10 minutes is all it takes to gain benefits for your health and wellbeing. Take a break and explore the Green Spaces on campus and in the area you live.
  • Go low tech. When did you last look up and truly take note of your surroundings? What can you see? What can you hear? What can you smell? One thing I’m enjoying about the changeable Spring weather is that everything is so different every time I go outside.
  • Need a little bit of motivation? Sign up to Outdoor Fit: Turn Up, Tone Up a low-intensity gentle circuit class, fun and social for those who are new or want to get back to exercise. Outdoor Fit: Turn Up, Tone Up is delivered every Tuesday between 5.30-6.30pm at the Claycroft Activity Zone. I attended my second session this week and I’m hooked! Likewise there is still time to sign-up for this terms Tri-Grid Challenge with prizes to be won. Get a team of friends together, log your activity and win one point for each one kilometre walked, run or jogged, 250 metres swum or 2.5 kilometres cycled.

Feeling inspired? We deliver fun and exciting events and activities across the year. Check out the Warwick Sport website.

Interested in becoming involved in a community of people keen to become more active, meet others and improve their health and wellbeing? Check out our Get Active Buddy Scheme 

I’m always happy to hear from anyone! Got a specific question? Get in touch via email.

From all of us here at Warwick Sport, we wish you the best of luck with your studies this term. Remember to let us know what you have been up to using the hashtag #activecampus.

Author: Jina Tanton, PhD Student and Warwick Sport Health and Wellbeing Coordinator