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October 21, 2021

Get outdoors

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Most of us spend the majority of our time inside. Modern lifestyles are designed for comfort and safety – if your home has internal access garaging, your office has parking inside the building and your supermarket is inside the mall then it’s easy to avoid any exposure to the elements. In addition to this, many people work long hours and choose to outsource the jobs that might previously have seen them active outside – maintaining the garden, washing the car, water-blasting the deck.

 However, being inside most of the time is an unhealthy habit. The World Health Organization has identified access to urban green spaces as a significant tool to reduce the risk of type two diabetes and improve cardiovascular and mental health. The light, air and atmosphere when you’re close to plant life and natural landscapes benefits your physical, cognitive and emotional health.

 Top tip one for the outdoors is to get your “sunshine vitamin” safely. Vitamin D is important for blood, bones and your immune system. Your body needs sunlight to make vitamin D but it doesn’t need much. In summer it’s recommended to get outside either early morning or late afternoon, keeping an eye on the UV index. Any time is good in winter – although it’s ideal if you’re walking outside rather than just sitting so that you’re warm enough to expose more of your skin to the sun. For vitamin D synthesis, exposure must be to direct sunlight as UVB does not pass through glass.

Top tip two is to set some short, medium and long term goals for outdoor activities you’d like to take part in. An achievable short term goal could be going on a bike ride with your children. A medium term goal could be buying a paddleboard to use in the coming summer. A long term goal could be making a plan to enjoy one of New Zealand’s great walks. Most people have at least one outdoor activity that they’ve really enjoyed in the past. Your new program of functional movement may give you the confidence to dust off your equipment and re-ignite the passion.

 It’s easy to get comfortable in the great indoors but it’s not good for your health. Be on the lookout for opportunities to get outside to enjoy sunshine, relaxation and exercise. The more you do it the more motivated you’ll be to do it more.

 Reference

  • www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/321971/Urban-green-spaces-and-health-review-evidence.pdf
  •  www.healthline.com/health/negative-ions#benefits

This article provides general health and wellbeing information.  It is not intended to be medical or nutritional advice specific to you.  Please consult an appropriate healthcare professional, such as your GP, a registered dietitian or nutritionist for any specific concerns.

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Most of us spend the majority of our time inside. Modern lifestyles are designed for comfort and safety – if your home has internal access garaging, your office has parking inside the building and your supermarket is inside the mall then it’s easy to avoid any exposure to the elements. In addition to this, many people work long hours and choose to outsource the jobs that might previously have seen them active outside – maintaining the garden, washing the car, water-blasting the deck.

 However, being inside most of the time is an unhealthy habit. The World Health Organization has identified access to urban green spaces as a significant tool to reduce the risk of type two diabetes and improve cardiovascular and mental health. The light, air and atmosphere when you’re close to plant life and natural landscapes benefits your physical, cognitive and emotional health.

 Top tip one for the outdoors is to get your “sunshine vitamin” safely. Vitamin D is important for blood, bones and your immune system. Your body needs sunlight to make vitamin D but it doesn’t need much. In summer it’s recommended to get outside either early morning or late afternoon, keeping an eye on the UV index. Any time is good in winter – although it’s ideal if you’re walking outside rather than just sitting so that you’re warm enough to expose more of your skin to the sun. For vitamin D synthesis, exposure must be to direct sunlight as UVB does not pass through glass.

Top tip two is to set some short, medium and long term goals for outdoor activities you’d like to take part in. An achievable short term goal could be going on a bike ride with your children. A medium term goal could be buying a paddleboard to use in the coming summer. A long term goal could be making a plan to enjoy one of New Zealand’s great walks. Most people have at least one outdoor activity that they’ve really enjoyed in the past. Your new program of functional movement may give you the confidence to dust off your equipment and re-ignite the passion.

 It’s easy to get comfortable in the great indoors but it’s not good for your health. Be on the lookout for opportunities to get outside to enjoy sunshine, relaxation and exercise. The more you do it the more motivated you’ll be to do it more.

 Reference

  • www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/321971/Urban-green-spaces-and-health-review-evidence.pdf
  •  www.healthline.com/health/negative-ions#benefits

This article provides general health and wellbeing information.  It is not intended to be medical or nutritional advice specific to you.  Please consult an appropriate healthcare professional, such as your GP, a registered dietitian or nutritionist for any specific concerns.

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Claire Bellingham

Les Mills Writer / Personal Trainer / Nutritionist

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