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New Highland website promotes outdoor activities, spaces and initiatives to improve mental and physical health

By Andrew Dixon

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Dan Jenkins.
Dan Jenkins.

A new initiative aimed at improving health across the board has been launched by the Highland Green Health Partnership, hosted by NHS Highland.

The new website aims to motivate and support people in the Highlands to go outdoors and take small steps towards improving their mental and physical health.

The site – Thinkhealththinknature.scot – has been created to allow visitors to easily search and source a wide range of activities including finding walking paths and green spaces within their local area.

It also highlights local groups, green health events and initiatives that may be taking place on their doorstep.

It has been funded in part by a £250,000 grant of EU Leader funding being delivered by High Life Highland.

NHS Highland’s health improvement specialist Dan Jenkins said: "We are lucky in the Highlands that we have a real wealth and variety of opportunities that help us to feel good in the outdoors and connect with nature. And we usually don’t need to travel far at all – nature is always very close to home."

The website has been split into eight geographical areas that make up the Highlands, with areas including Inverness, Nairn and Ross-shire.

Tania Alliod, of High Life Highland, said: "We understand that exercising outdoors may not be everyone’s cup of tea but we want to encourage people to take small steps and make a positive change in their health and wellbeing. Small, positive changes bring huge health benefits that improve over time."

Future plans for the website include inviting local community initiatives and partnerships involved in green health activities to share experiences and projects as bloggers.

Meanwhile, a new Think Health walking app has been launched including a Hike the Highlands challenge based on real walks which total 369 miles.

Dr Tim Allison, NHS Highland’s director of public health, said: "Being active and connecting with the natural world are really important for improving both our physical health and our mental health. This initiative is a fantastic encouragement for us to keep physically active during the current challenging times and I have already registered to take part."

For more, visit www.worldwalking.org/thinknature

For more about being a blogger, or listing a group or initiative, email info@thinkhealththinknature.sco

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