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Saturday, 28 May 2016

Berlin: encouraging the healthy lifestyle - from exercise to wildlife

In Berlin for the 5th Forum on Companion Diagnostics, organised by the rapidly expanding Brandenburg-Berlin DiagnostikNet of biotech companies and affiliates.

The event has been hosted in the CoLaborator startup building on the former Schering, now Bayer campus. Outside, a volleyball court and all weather table-tennis tables - and a giant chessboard for those wishing to divert the mind.

In the city centre, tremendous buzz around the Brandenburg Gate with an international field
Kestrel with prey in the Tempelhofer Garten in Berlin
of runners, part of the international city move to encourage exercise through amateur runs. The latest field numbers I could find were 25,500 in Berlin for a recent Spring half-Marathon.


In the South of Berlin, an inspiring example of local democracy, Berlin citizens having voted to preserve the former Tempelhof airfield as a vast wild urban common land - the former site of the Berlin Airlift (or air bridge as locally known - Die Luftbr├╝cke: 1948-1949).

This huge space is well worth enjoying while still protected wild city green land.
 
When I visited, the runways were in use by cyclists of all speeds, stylish rollerbladers, families with pushchairs, and general strollers.

There are numerous copses and tall grasslands rich in birdlife. Within 100 yards of the entrance, a kestrel catching an unlucky field rodent (above the old parachute drop training wires), sparrows nesting in an abandoned cargo plane, pied wagtail, goldfinch, wood warbler, swifts and skylarks, common nightingale, chiffchaff ...

Many good examples of making it as easy as possible at work and in leisure time to
Common Redstart in Berlin's Tiergarten
maintain a healthy active lifestyle. This is not only of course a key part of general wellbeing, but well-established to prevent serious diseases. Cardiovascular disease is the most obvious example. 

Healthy lifestyle is also well-evidenced as good for preventing cancers, and for providing clinical benefit in patients with cancer,  the focus of a one day Updates on Cancer Meeting being organised by the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine in London on Thursday 29th September, 2016.

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