Welsh celebrities have collaborated with NHS Wales this month to inspire people to get more active and boost their physical and mental well-being with a series of free challenges, events and activities.
At a time where people may feel increasingly worried or anxious amid unsettling world events, the collaboration aims to remind people to nurture the relationship between their physical and mental health by adopting small lifestyle changes that can help improve their wellbeing.
The drive to get people more active also comes after a recent survey* commissioned by NHS Wales that revealed 37% of Welsh people thought they would feel happier if they exercised and moved around more. Yet only a third of people (34 percent) said they regularly exercised and more than half (53 percent) spent most of the day sat down.
Welsh Strictly Come Dancing professional, Amy Dowden, ‘Weatherman Walking’ Derek Brockway, and wildlife broadcaster Iolo Williams are among the list of Welsh names motivating people to get more active as part of NHS Wales’ ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign.
Welsh rugby players, including Ken Owens, Josh Navidi and Jasmine Joyce, are also demonstrating their support by revealing the simple activities they do off the pitch to look after their mental health and happiness.
To kick things off, Strictly star, Amy Dowden, will be hosting a free virtual dance class on Sunday, 20 March at 10.00am. She’ll be using her skills and expertise to encourage people all of ages to ramp up their heart rates by trying out some new moves.
Amy Dowden said: “I’m really excited to take part in this NHS Wales project. It really doesn’t matter what you choose to do to be active, but dancing can be a really fun way of moving your body and raising your heart rate.
“The class is aimed at everyone, so no matter your ability there are different moves to try! I’d really encourage anyone who can take part to give it a go.”
Well-known TV wildlife presenter, Iolo Williams, has also helped to launch an online resource with Natural Resources Wales. It’s a fun guide that helps families better explore the local parks, woodlands and nature reserves on their doorstep.
Iolo Williams said: “Health and happiness go hand in hand and it’s amazing how being active can benefit not only your physical health but also mental well-being. The easiest way to start is to focus on something you love – be it a nature walk, dance class or a family trip to the park.
“I hope this resource is a fun starting point for families looking for new ways to get active – all while enjoying the best nature has to offer and having fun.”
Welsh weatherman, Derek Brockway, has also got involved by challenging people to make the most of the beautiful landscapes Wales has to offer. Over the past few weeks, he’s tried his hand at various forms of activities out of his comfort zone, including wild swimming, cycling and running.
Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle, said: “With spring and summer fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to explore the beauty Wales has to offer, and for people to get more active and do the things they enjoy.
“There are a number of lifestyle choices and small changes that people can make to help protect and improve their mental wellbeing, particularly at a time when levels of anxiety are higher than before the pandemic. Being more active, eating well, making sure you’re getting enough sleep and connecting with friends and family are all things you can do to help your mental well-being.
“For anyone needing emotional support or are feeling particularly overwhelmed, you can ‘CALL Helpline Wales’ on 0800 132 737.”
For more ideas and free tips on how to stay active, go to the Living and Feeling Well pages on the NHS 111 Wales website. Every change you make will help us help you.