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Column: Enjoying the 'amazing spread' of blue spaces

PUBLISHED: 10:00 24 February 2018

Emma Ratzer, chief executive of Access Community Trust.

Emma Ratzer, chief executive of Access Community Trust.

Archant

I have a new man in my life.

Parker enjoying the Blue Spaces in Lowestoft. Picture: Emma RatzerParker enjoying the Blue Spaces in Lowestoft. Picture: Emma Ratzer

Don’t worry, I still have the old man and they do share some similar characteristics: furry feet, loves a cuddle.

So, my new man? Parker, the five-month-old miniature Labradoodle.

I have been reading up on dog psychology (its been a while since we have had a puppy in the house) and whilst I do totally understand that he is an animal first, then a dog, then a pet and then Parker, there is something rather amazing happening that makes him magic first.

When you have a puppy you have to be ‘present’ in the moment – no explaining why the thing he did five minutes ago is not appropriate behaviour. You have to practice a bit of mindfulness and be aware of the moment.

Emma Ratzer, chief executive of Access Community Trust.Emma Ratzer, chief executive of Access Community Trust.

To ensure your house remains in one piece you need to exercise, meaning not only are you improving physical health but your mental health is also benefiting.

Walking for health improves self-esteem, mood and sleep (which is a bonus because the 6am wake up calls have been difficult to adjust to).

Parker has also brought us companionship, something that is incredibly important in today’s society where feelings of isolation and loneliness are unhappy emotional reactions to the way we live our lives. You don’t have to live on your own to feel lonely sometimes.

The final piece of doggy sized magic is the bringing of social connection.

Parker enjoying the Blue Spaces in Lowestoft. Picture: Emma RatzerParker enjoying the Blue Spaces in Lowestoft. Picture: Emma Ratzer

When you are out, living the moment, increasing your cardiac rate, boosting your endorphins and meeting new people we are also sharing our stories and becoming connected to each other.

Massively important to our wellbeing and in Lowestoft we have an amazing spread of blue spaces.

We thought we were buying a pet, what we have is a magical being that is able to improve our health and wellbeing without us even knowing.

Maybe I can get Parker to talk to the old man about finally trying to give up smoking!

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