How Waterways Can Help
Waterways offer many opportunities to boost wellbeing and improve mental health. As well as providing active forms of recreation, they also offer shared social experiences and the chance to connect with nature.
Mental health and wellbeing has been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. People with diagnosed conditions have seen them worsen, while isolation and lockdowns caused others to develop new symptoms. Many more have become aware for the first time of long-term mental health issues, previously masked by our busy day-to-day lives.
Increased physical activity is known to improve mental health. As well as more strenuous forms of recreation such as cycling, running and paddle sports, our waterways can also be used for walking a dog, strolling with friends and family, relaxing, visiting canalside pubs and cafés, fishing, wildlife watching, going on a boat trip, photography and much more. Post-pandemic, shared social experiences like these have become more important than ever.
Volunteering can also improve mental health, through a renewed sense of purpose and the satisfaction of a job well done. As well as providing important social interactions and an opportunity to make new friends, volunteering can reduce stress and boost confidence too.