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Canal & River Trust says relax

We're urging people to spend more time unwinding and reap the health benefits.

A nationwide poll has revealed just over two fifths (41%) of people feel they do not have enough time to relax, even though 86% of us enjoy relaxing. As it's International Relaxation Day we're calling on people to take two minutes out of each hour to chill out and share their relaxation tips with the rest of the population.

Relaxing for two minutes an hour, just 16 minutes in a working day, could make a difference to your productiveness and overall happiness and life expectancy. Whether you choose to do some stretches at your desk, get a breath of fresh air or take a virtual visit to one of our calming waterway destinations, it's something everyone should make the time to do.

Breath of fresh air

The YouGov survey of 2,324 people, which was carried out for the Canal & River Trust to see how people relax, is part of our Campaign for Real Time, highlighting the importance of the waterways and the benefits of relaxation and quality time in today's increasingly-pressurised world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey also revealed that men are more likely (41%) than women (35%) to enjoy going to a drink in a pub with friends to relax, whereas women prefer (40%) to have a hot soak in the bath. Couch potatoes were well represented with 69% of those surveyed saying they liked to relax by being at home with their feet up in front of the TV.

Katy Appleton, founder of appleyogaoga, says: “Many of us live in a semi-permanent state within our nervous system called the sympathetic state or Flight, Fight, Freeze. This occurs because of the daily demands most people face in today's society, and our own mental state perpetuating that. This state manifests itself as stress, irritation, worry, anxiety and anger, which affects our physical, mental and emotional health.

Katy continues: “It is essential for our long-term health and well-being that we offer the flip-side to the state of Flight, Fight, Freeze. This state can be accessed in many ways such as taking a deep breath, getting enough sleep, eating and drinking healthily, cutting down on caffeine, walking in nature or along water which has a calming effect, or certain types of yoga. By living more in this state the body can revitalise and regenerate, brain function increases, there is more clarity and less agitation and stress, and a more relaxed, calmer state is achieved.”

Get away from it all

Dick Vincent, London towpath ranger, says: “Everyone deserves to have time to relax and get away from it all, whether it's time spent on your own or with friends and family. For millions of people the canals and rivers can provide a local haven and a healthy place to escape and experience a slower pace of life.

”The canals and rivers really are special places for everyone – from walkers and cyclists, to boaters, canoeists and anglers. There's even a name for people who just love to watch life go by on the water - ‘gongoozlers'. Just a short amount of time spent near water can help recharge the batteries, I can vouch for that.”

Last Edited: 15 March 2016

photo of a location on the canals
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