Sarah Lees - Health by Stealth

“Health by Stealth”
Sarah Lees
Consultant in Public Health
Plymouth City Council
Health benefits of being active
< risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and Type II diabetes
< blood pressure and cholesterol levels
< obesity
> muscular strength and balance ( to perform everyday tasks)
• > cognition
• > self esteem, confidence and positive feelings
• < symptoms of depression and anxiety
Recommended Activity Levels
CMO recommendations for adults (19-64 yrs)
• 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week
• Ideally in bouts of 10 minutes or more
• Aim to be active everyday
e.g. 30 minutes on 5 days of the week
Brisk walking is moderate intensity activity
Maintaining activity over time is key to sustained
behaviour change and health benefit
Not everyone is motivated by the message “this is good
for your health”
Natural Environments
• Natural environments are restorative
• Improves feelings of revitalisation and positive
• Provides opportunities for social interaction and
entertainment as well as activity
• Improves heart rate, blood pressure and reduces
stress markers
In Industrial Revolution, wealthy philanthropists built
urban parks for the benefit of the public’s health and
hospital gardens for their healing properties
Being active in natural environments
Health benefit increases up to 3 fold
More beneficial especially for mental health
Decreases perception of effort
Enhances mood
Provides social interaction and entertainment
Improves adherence/maintenance
Increases frequency of activity
Definition of Wellbeing
Dodge, R., Daly, A., Huyton, J., & Sanders, L. (2012). The challenge of defining wellbeing.
International Journal of Wellbeing, 2(3), 222-235. doi:10.5502/ijw.v2i3.4
Plymouth City Council Public Health Team commission the Public Health Improvement
Team within Plymouth Community Healthcare to deliver :Walking for Health
Walking Leader Training

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