Former patients have lots of heart16-MAY-2012
TWENTY-SIX former heart patients joined forces to tackle a walk with the wildlife at a Highland National Nature Reserve (NNR).
They walked out to the bird hide beside Balblair Bay while on a trip to learn more about the plants and animals of the Loch Fleet NNR near Golspie, Sutherland.
The walkers from the National Health Service; Scottish Natural Heritage; Forestry Commission (Scotland) and the RSPB met last Saturday at The Links in Golspie Business Park and were welcomed by local NHS physiotherapy staff Meg Shanks and Lindsey Parkin.
Recovering Sutherland patients can participate in a 12-week cardiac rehabilitation programme through local hospitals the Lawson Memorial and Migdale. Former patients are encouraged to take part in an education and exercise programme which aims to build confidence and encourages them to continue taking regular exercise.
Ian Mitchell of SNH found himself participating in the programme last year and thought it might be an idea to invite former rehab participants to a guided walk on the nearby Loch Fleet nature reserve.
"We really weren't sure how many people would come along so it was a welcome surprise when Meg emailed me to say that they had positive responses from 26 of their former patients," Ian said. "Getting out in the fresh air is something we can all do but sometimes I think we do need a bit of a nudge to go and attempt a walk or activity that we might not try on our own. It is all about our health and well-being and visiting our nature and countryside can help in giving us all a healthier lifestyle."
The second guided walk to the Loch Fleet bird hide, also aimed at the NHS's rehab patients, will be held on Thursday 21 June. Anyone wishing to join this group should contact Meg or Lindsey at the Physiotherapy Department, Lawson Memorial Hospital, Golspie, or phone 01408 664027.
Media inquiries: Fergus Macneill, SNH Public Relations: 01463 725021
Scottish Natural Heritage is the Government's advisor on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Our role is to help everyone understand, value and enjoy Scotland's nature now and in the future. For further information visit www.snh.gov.uk
Author: Fergus Macneill
Contact: SNH Press Office