Practice Blog

Dr Dolphin's Blog August 2020

Many of my patients will have heard me say “I love exercise!”

 It really doesn’t have to be sprints and a full-on workout, and you don’t need to don full lycra or buy lots of equipment either. My favourite ways of being active include:

  • A walk outside in some fresh air.

 Abbot's PoolBlaise CastleAshton Court

(All photos taken locally during lockdown walks – Abbott's Pool, Blaise Castle and Ashton Court)

  • Cycling with friends, commuting to work and on my home visits. 
  • A stretching session in my living room or on the balcony (I often use any YouTube Yoga for Beginners or Lower Body Stretches given that I cycle a lot during the week)!

Dr Dolphin CycleYoga on the balcony

No matter what type of physical activity I do, I always feel more energised afterwards and, most importantly, my mood is lifted as a result. It is widely acknowledged that exercise:

  • Boosts mood

  • Improves sleep

  • Reduces stress

  • Lowers risk of anxiety, depression and dementia

  • Lifts self-esteem

All of the above are just the benefits to mental health. The physical health benefits are summarised below:

Physical benefits of exercise 

Some patients worry about how safe it might be for them to exercise, for example, if pregnant, or if limited by a disability or chronic pain. Your GP can always offer advice on this but there is also a lot of information on the following websites:

If you’re looking for local exercise classes, take a look at The Greenway Centre who have recently reopened their doors (they’re also offering some classes online). The NHS Couch to 5k jogging and Active 10 walking apps are also handy tools to motivate you to move more.

With many of us entering uncertain times with the COVID-19 outbreak, taking care of our mental wellbeing has never been more needed. Physical activity ticks the box of being a quick and simple method to help us feel better and cope a little better with the stresses of everyday life. I am already looking forward to my cycle home after writing this! What are you looking forward to doing now?

Dr Steiner’s Blog July 2020

We know that the most important factor in all our health is the future of the planet. Global warming through excessive carbon pollution (known as carbon footprint) is our biggest threat, affecting the lives of many more people than COVID 19.

Southmead and Henbury Family Practice is on the Royal College of GPs Green Impact for Health scheme and these are the changes we've already made:

- Reducing the amount of paper we use by using emails, text messaging and electronic prescribing instead.

- Working more from home and holding internet-based meetings to reduce our carbon footprint.

- Choosing to walk or cycle to work.

- Installing more recycling bins.

- Reducing medication waste: the production and use of medication is responsible for the greatest negative NHS impact on the planet's health. We're helping patients to use their medications more effectively, and find other ways to support their health, such as Social Prescribing. This reduces waste and also the need to take medications.

- We are taking part in Plastic Free July (this link will open in a new window - popups must be allowed). Unfortunately a lot of our PPE and medical equipment comes in plastic packaging but we are making personal efforts, and encouraging our patients, to limit the amount of single-use plastics that we use. 

 Plastic Free July

What can I do to help?

Even the longest journey starts with a small step, and any changes you make can make a real difference.

Here are some ideas:

- Walk or cycle to your appointments, rather than driving: this will boost your health in many ways (and save you money too)!

- Eat a vegetarian meal at least once a week: meat production has a big carbon footprint.

- Make sure you know what medication you're taking and why: there may be more environmentally friendly treatment options available to you which you can discuss with your GP.

-Spend more time in Nature: we have some beautiful spaces near the practice, such as Baddocks Wood and Blaise Estate, and it has been shown that exercising in nature is more effective than the same time spent in a gym. It has a positive effect on mental and physical health, and the birdsong seems so much sweeter and louder since lockdown began!

- Look after your Space: even small outdoor spaces can be made very special by picking up litter, planting something which looks lovely, and smells or tastes good. Trees and plants reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

Dr Steiner's Allotment


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