NorfolkLow Carbon Norfolk

Healthy Living

Being healthy and happy is no doubt on the top of many people’s concerns. There are many ways to improve your wellbeing, but what you may not know is that this can help the environment too…

Getting out of the car

Hiking BootsWe all know how expensive it is to keep and run a car these days and you can visit the Travel section of this website to read more about that. However what benefit can the alternatives to car travel have for your health and wellbeing?

Every hour spent in a car per day is associated with a 6% increase in risk of obesity, while a study in Chinese men showed those acquiring a car to be twice as likely to become obese. It is also estimated that if just one in 100 inactive people took adequate exercise it could save the NHS as much as £85 million per year and more importantly, it could save them time in the waiting room.

Some parents insisting on making short journeys by car to avoid exhaust fumes on the roads. However, the additional car travel not only deprives children of exercise, it contributes to poor air quality and may expose the child to higher pollutant levels in the car!

Enjoying the outdoors

Some doctors are now prescribing a walk in the park to aid patients’ health, as this has been proven to reduce the risk of a heart attack by 50%, diabetes by 50%, colon cancer by 30%, and fracture of the femur by up to 40%. Walking is a great way to explore Norfolk and going out for the day in a group makes for a fun social activity.

There are loads of places in Norfolk where you can get out and enjoy the outdoors. Try the Visit Norfolk website, or Norfolk Countryside Access has details of themed walking routes, cycle routes as well as an interactive map of Norfolk rights of way. Alternatively, you could contribute to the local environment by joining a local community project such as one organised by the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership.

A healthy lifestyle

As a rule of thumb the 'eat well plate', the NHS’s guide to healthy eating, can also be used to help reduce the carbon impact of the food you eat. So the good news is a healthy diet is also a less carbon intensive one!

Improvements to home energy efficiency and heating will also reduce your carbon footprint and have the added bonus of helping to reduce mean blood pressure and the chance of heart and lung problems.

Simple changes you can start today:

  • Eat less meat, fish and dairy – why not start by going for a meat free Monday?
  • Find out what’s in season and how to eat seasonably
  • Buy local food where you can – perhaps have a look at local food directories or check out the Visit Norfolk’s ‘Food & Drink’ section, which is full of information about what is happening locally
  • Sign representing changesBuy organic food where possible – or for the cheaper option start to grow your own organic food! You could also contact your local town or parish council to see if allotments are available in your area.
  • Eat less processed food – especially frozen and where multiple ingredients are involved
  • Cook from raw ingredients – the BBC recipe finder is a great tool and you can search for simple and quick things to get you started
  • Reject heavily packaged foods where you can and keep a look out for shops that will refill containers
  • Reduce food waste – compost it or alternatively the Love Food Hate Waste campaign can help you use up leftovers and save yourself up to £50 a month
  • Drink tap water instead of bottled water, it requires around 300 times less energy to process a glass of tap water and also generates less waste