Canals on prescription
A GP in Buckinghamshire has made a generous donation to improve a local waterside walk which her practice, Wendover Health Centre, is ‘prescribing’ to help patients lower their blood pressure, fight depression and combat chronic lung conditions.
Dr Philippa Moreton made the donation to mark her retirement and encourage more people to explore the nation’s waterways and walk themselves to better health and improved wellbeing.
The donation has improved the path around the picturesque Weston Turville Reservoir near Aylesbury so that the walking route can be more easily enjoyed by local people.
Dr Moreton comments: “Everyone knows that regular exercise is key to living a happy and healthy life but there is also evidence that shows that being by a ‘blue space’ can improve our general sense of wellbeing and reduce stress.
“I have made this donation to the waterways, as a way to encourage all the Wendover, Weston Turville and Halton community to walk more in order to benefit their health. The new walk is now accessible to more people, it is on the flat which will help people with heart and lung conditions and the beauty and proximity to water and nature will help everyone’s sense of wellbeing, particularly those with mental health problems. And the best part is it’s free.
“Walking is a very good form of exercise and there is very good evidence that walking for thirty minutes five times a week can help a whole range of patients with long term conditions. For example it can help diabetics control their blood sugar; it can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and is also good for those with chronic lung or heart conditions seeking to improve their breathing. Regular exercise is particularly important for older people who may have problems with mobility or arthritis. The fact that that the walk is in a beautiful place close to water will be appreciated by everyone but also means that it may of specific help for patients coping with anxiety or depression.”
James Clifton, from the Canal & River Trust, adds: “Historically doctors would prescribe ‘sea air’ to patients with all kinds of ailments because they recognised the benefits of being out and about and beside water. Today half the population lives near one of our canals or rivers and it’s great that Dr Moreton has made a personal donation to the Trust and is working with us to encourage people to discover walking besides their local canal or river.”
The project to resurface the path was also funded by the Aylesbury Vale Community Chest, the Buckinghamshire Community Foundation and the Wendover Parish Council. The work was carried out by a number of local groups and volunteers, together with recruits from RAF Holton and offenders from the Thames Valley Rehabilitation Company.