THE GREAT OUT­DOORS

Scout Magazine - - Wellbeing... -

AN AP­PLE A DAY MIGHT KEEP THE DOC­TOR AWAY BUT NOW RE­SEARCH IS SHOW­ING THAT FRESH AIR AND SUN­SHINE ARE WHAT THE DOC­TOR SHOULD BE OR­DER­ING. AND WE KNOW A LIT­TLE CITY THAT’S BRIMMING WITH THE GOLDEN STUFF!

Sun­shine, warm weather and good vibes are what gen­er­ally at­tract peo­ple to our vi­brant cor­ner of Queens­land. And there are so many ad­di­tional ben­e­fits for spend­ing time out­doors that re­late both to men­tal well­be­ing and phys­i­cal health. The Gold Coast could not be a more per­fect des­ti­na­tion for you to soak up the nat­u­ral well­ness on of­fer cour­tesy of Mother Na­ture.

VI­TA­MIN D

Vi­ta­min D is pri­mar­ily known for its role in bone health. It helps with the ab­sorp­tion of cal­cium and phos­phate, re­duces cal­cium loss from bones and is needed for bone growth. There are sug­ges­tions that it also plays an im­por­tant role in other as­pects of hu­man health es­pe­cially im­mu­nity and in­fec­tion con­trol. Re­cent re­search on tu­ber­cu­lo­sis bac­te­ria has shed light on the crit­i­cal role vi­ta­min D plays in the func­tion of T-cells, which are white blood cells that fight in­fec­tion in the body. Vi­ta­min D is also linked with fight­ing flu and other res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tions due to its role in the pro­duc­tion of in­fec­tion-fight­ing amino acids (an­timi­cro­bial pep­tides).

Ac­cord­ing to Choice and ABS data, some four mil­lion Aus­tralians suf­fer from a vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency. This has been put down to our in­creas­ing pref­er­ence to­wards in­door recre­ation. Choice states that the ‘right’ amount of out­door sun ex­po­sure to main­tain ad­e­quate vi­ta­min D lev­els is 6-7 min­utes of sun with arms and hands ex­posed out­side the hours of 10am-2pm for those mod­er­ately fair skinned. How­ever, those with darker skin may need 3-6 times as much sun ex­po­sure.

FRESH AIR There are many proven ben­e­fits of breath­ing fresh air. Among them:

• Fresh air helps im­prove blood pres­sure and heart rate.

• It in­creases the flow of oxy­gen help­ing you di­gest food more ef­fec­tively and el­e­vate the amount of sero­tonin (the happy hor­mone) in your sys­tem.

• An in­crease of oxy­gen helps white blood cells func­tion prop­erly by fight­ing and killing bac­te­ria and germs.

• Fresh air cleans your lungs, im­prov­ing lung func­tion.

• Fresh air gives you more en­ergy and a sharper mind, im­prov­ing your con­cen­tra­tion skills.

RE­DUCE STRESS

Phy­ton­cides are air­borne chem­i­cals that plants and trees emit for pro­tec­tion from in­sects and rot. These chem­i­cals also hap­pen to be at the cen­tre of re­search in re­gards to stress re­duc­tion.

A 2008 study pub­lished in the “Jour­nal of Bi­o­log­i­cal Reg­u­la­tors & Homeo­static

Agents” re­cruited par­tic­i­pants to spend time walk­ing for­est and city ar­eas for this very rea­son. Ac­cord­ing to the re­search, par­tic­i­pants showed more phys­i­cal signs of re­lax­ation – in­clud­ing lower blood pres­sure and lower amounts of the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol – when they spent time in the for­est com­pared to the city. Sounds like the per­fect ex­cuse to get out and ex­plore our GC hinterland, doesn’t it?

GET EN­ER­GISED

The “Jour­nal of En­vi­ron­men­tal Psy­chol­ogy” pub­lished a group of stud­ies in 2010 that showed “be­ing out­doors was as­so­ci­ated with greater vi­tal­ity”.

Re­search par­tic­i­pants re­ported just gen­er­ally feel­ing hap­pier, health­ier and more alive when they spent time out­doors and in na­ture.

PEO­PLE COME FROM FAR AND WIDE TO VISIT OUR BELOVED GOLD COAST, AND FOR GOOD REA­SON – WE’VE GOT SUN, SURF AND MILES AND MILES OF PRIS­TINE SANDY COAST­LINE, ALL RIGHT AT OUR FRONT DOOR. AND CON­TRARY TO POP­U­LAR BE­LIEF, THERE IS STILL PLENTY TO DO HERE IN THE WIN­TER.

If you’re keen to see the GC from a new per­spec­tive, have some fun on dry land or sim­ply get that fresh, salty air into your lungs, you might want to give one of our many beach­side bike tracks a go.

DAR­REN SMITH ME­MO­RIAL ROUTE De­clared one of the best bike tracks on the Gold Coast, this 48km stretch of pave­ment is def­i­nitely not for the faint of heart. Named af­ter the Olympic cy­clist who was trag­i­cally killed when he was struck by a ve­hi­cle on a train­ing ride, the Dar­ren Smith Me­mo­rial Route runs from Par­adise Point right down to the Cap­tain Cook Me­mo­rial at Point Dan­ger, near Coolan­gatta, giv­ing you an un­ri­valled view of the GC coast­line along the way. There are plenty of beach­side stops along the way, mean­ing you can break up the ride with a spot of sun­bak­ing or body surf­ing.

GOLD COAST OCEAN­WAY

If the mon­strous Dar­ren Smith Me­mo­rial Route sounds a bit daunt­ing, why not try its baby brother – the Gold Coast Ocean­way? Whether you’re a Gold Coast lo­cal or have vis­ited the city a hand­ful of times, you’ve prob­a­bly strolled along the Ocean­way with­out even know­ing it. Start­ing at Point Dan­ger and fin­ish­ing up at the Gold Coast Sea­way at the end of the South­port Spit, the Ocean­way tracks 36km of coast­line, made up of a se­ries of sec­tions dot­ted with view­ing plat­forms, public bar­be­cue ar­eas, play­grounds and cafés. Pick a por­tion of it or at­tempt the Ocean­way in full – just re­mem­ber to re­ward your­self with a smoothie or cof­fee when you’re done.

MAIN BEACH TO THE SPIT

Start­ing at the South­port Life­sav­ing Club and track­ing north, this route – also known as Fed­er­a­tion Walk – will take you right along­side the beach, un­der the sand pump­ing jetty and all the way up to the Spit wall, or the Gold Coast Sea­way. Com­prised of both bike path and an of­froad bush track, this route is per­fect for fam­i­lies want­ing to try some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, or any­one want­ing some fresh prawns pur­chased from the fish­ing trawlers for lunch.

WHETHER YOU’RE A CER­TI­FIED YOGI OR YOU HAVE TROU­BLE TELLING YOUR SHAVASANA FROM YOUR SAR­VAN­GASANA, LIS­TEN UP! HERE'S WHERE YOU CAN BEND, STRETCH AND ‘OM’ ON THE GOLDIE WITH­OUT SPEND­ING A CENT! TRUE! That’s right – we’ve done the leg­work so that you can do your own leg­work (and more) on a yoga mat at dif­fer­ent spots through­out the Gold Coast, ev­ery day of the week. Here it is: Your week in yoga, com­pletely free of charge.

MON­DAY

Mon­days are hard enough with­out throw­ing early morn­ing ex­er­cise into the mix. That’s why the free yoga class with Madonna from Zen Soul Yoga is per­fect – it starts at the in­cred­i­bly civilised time of 6pm. Long day? Kids driv­ing you crazy? Head straight to Pa­cific Pines Com­mu­nity Hub in Wai­jin Park, on Pa­cific Pines Boule­vard in, you guessed it, Pa­cific Pines, to de-stress and un­wind… lit­er­ally. There’s noth­ing a bound for­ward fold can’t fix.

TUES­DAY

There’s no bet­ter way to start the day than with some out­door yoga, and this class with Essence of Liv­ing of­fers ex­actly that. The ses­sion kicks off at 6am at Len Wort Park in Cur­rumbin – a favourite for wed­dings, this beach­front space is the best place to be when the sun comes up. And there are plenty of cafes nearby, so that post-yoga cof­fee is to­tally jus­ti­fied.

For the late ris­ers, the Robina Aus­tralian School of Med­i­ta­tion and Yoga has you cov­ered. Their 9am and 11am classes in the Robina Com­mu­nity Cen­tre are per­fect when you need that lit­tle bit more time to sleep in. And if you love the class, you can come back on Thurs­days, too!

WED­NES­DAY

Pa­cific Pines lo­cals, you’re in luck – Madonna from Zen Soul Yoga on Mon­days also hosts an­other free class on Wed­nes­days at 6pm, this time at Pa­cific Pines State High School. Head south to the Coun­try Par­adise Park­lands in Nerang and you’ll be able to join in on an­other one of the Aus­tralian School of Med­i­ta­tion and Yoga’s free classes. Flex­i­bil­ity is an im­por­tant part of yoga, af­ter all.

THURS­DAY

By Thurs­day, you’re prob­a­bly ready for an­other early morn­ing yoga class. Good thing Fit­ness First Broad­beach hosts a 6.30am ses­sion at the beach­front venue of Kur­rawa Ter­race on Old Burleigh Road, Broad­beach. These classes are on from Jan­uary to June and Septem­ber to De­cem­ber, and aren’t just for Fit­ness First mem­bers.

A lit­tle later in the morn­ing, the Aus­tralian School of Med­i­ta­tion and Yoga host an­other ses­sion, this time start­ing at 9.15am at the South­port Com­mu­nity Cen­tre on Law­son Street in South­port. Plus, don’t for­get about ASMY’S other 9am and 11am classes in the Robina Com­mu­nity Cen­tre – so many op­tions!

FRI­DAY Af­ter a chaotic week, there’s noth­ing quite like a bit of yoga to get you feel­ing week­end-ready. Thank­fully, Essence of Liv­ing host a free yoga ses­sion at 10.15am on a Fri­day, so head down to the Car­rara Com­mu­nity Cen­tre on Nielsens Road to squeeze in one more class for the week!

SAT­UR­DAY

Un­less it’s a ‘hike’ to the near­est brunch spot, we’re nor­mally firmly against ex­er­cise on the week­end. But when there are a few free yoga classes to check out around town, a Sat­ur­day morn­ing work­out seems al­most ap­peal­ing, right? Early-ris­ers can get their fix at 6.30am with Quick­sil­ver Board­rid­ers, at Queen El­iz­a­beth Park in Coolan­gatta.

Fur­ther north in Ja­cobs Well, you can score a free yoga class with Ali­son Pryce from En­hance Your Life PT. Run­ning out of Har­ri­gan’s in the Calypso Bay Marine Vil­lage at 9am, this is your last chance to get some free yoga in for the week – don’t miss out!

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