INTERVIEW: Ruth Dodsworth

We caught up with ITV weather presenter Ruth Dodsworth to discuss the link between good physical and mental health. Ruth also talks about her ‘newfound love’ for swimming across Wales!

Do you think good physical and good mental health are interlinked?

Absolutely. I would say, in a sense, you need one to balance the other. You don’t have to be hitting the gym 24/7, it’s not about that, it’s just about keeping yourself going, keeping your blood flowing, getting oxygen in your lungs, and with that sense of physical wellbeing comes that sense of mental wellbeing. The two are completely interlinked and I think it’s
important we recognise that. The old saying ‘a healthy body, a health mind’ has stuck around for good reason!

How beneficial do you find just getting outdoors in the fresh air and into nature?

For me it’s absolutely essential. I think for everybody, just the ability to get outside and breathe fresh air is so important. We’re lucky in Wales to have the landscape, the coast and the country that we do. It benefits us physically and mentally.

Do you like swimming? What are the benefits you get from it?

I do swim. I swam all the way through university and then when I had my children ­ swimming is something I’ve always done. I grew up near the coast so for me swimming was effectively part of my education: we learnt to swim and rightly so. I’ve noticed with lockdown how swimming has very much become part of life for a whole new generation: there’s a newfound
love for swimming, especially outdoor swimming and wild swimming which seems to be going from strength to strength. We have hundreds of miles of coastline here in Wales, you don’t have to pay, anyone can go, and I think people are really waking up to the benefits of swimming and getting into the water. It’s lovely because people are forming groups and relationships and it’s opening up a whole new world. You don’t have to be an Olympic standard swimmer, as long as you’re safe and you know your water, that really is key. It’s fantastic!

Would you recommend it to others as a way to improve wellbeing?

Without a question. Like I said, even if it’s just dipping your toes in the water, there’s something about that connection with the water: it’s the freedom, it’s liberating, the water takes you away from the world in a sense, I can’t speak highly enough of swimming. It’s absolutely beneficial ­ physically, mentally and in every possible way.

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