Get your community happy and healthy
We’re more likely to experience illness and lower moods as the days get shorter and we head into autumn, says Lauren Parsons.
Staying active in your neighbourhood is one positive way to help keep you healthy and happy. It will also connect you with your neighbours.
FOUR TIPS TO HELP YOU THRIVE THIS AUTUMN
1. Adopt an active attitude: Walking and biking will give you more opportunities to connect with neighbours. Choose to see every opportunity to move your body as a positive rather than an inconvenience. Switch your default setting to active and multitask movement into your everyday routines so it doesn’t take any extra time. Jog up every set of stairs you see or park further away and enjoy a walk. Keep your bike or training shoes ready for action. Plan ahead and drop off work clothes once a week so you can cycle most other days. 2. Snack on exercise: Small things add up to make a big difference. Imagine committing to four short and sharp minutes of exercise every day that you can easily fit into your life. Time is the most reported barrier to exercise, but you can easily overcome this by including one minute bursts throughout your day. This boosts your mood, counteracts the negative effects of sitting and leaves you feeling energised rather than exhausted. Studies have shown short intense bursts of exercise give many more health benefits than long steady exercise. Try a few press-ups with your hands on the edge of the bench while the jug boils, or some squats while you read emails.
3. Play and laughter produce positive hormones that counteract stress. Getting outdoors to play is ideal because sunlight also acts as a natural anti-depressant, producing vitamin D and boosting serotonin, our ‘happy hormone’. Rekindle your youthful spark by exploring local parks and playgrounds. Let your children and grandchildren inspire you. Make them into your own personal trainers by telling them you will copy everything they do for the next five minutes and see the fun that unfolds. Take a ball to the park, set up an obstacle course, do a treasure hunt and don’t be afraid to jump on those swings either!
4. Connect. Social connections are one of the biggest determinants of long-term happiness. Invite your neighbours over for a potluck meal to build those connections. One of the best ways to eat well is by having nutritious meals in your freezer ready for demanding week nights. Create a fun social way to prepare these by organising a bulk cook-up together with your neighbours. You can all return home satisfied with a stack of meals to freeze and enjoy at a later date.
Neighbourly.co.nz is a great way to kick-start connections with others who live nearby so you can all encourage each other to stay well and happy.
Neighbourly is a NZ-owned social media site creating easy ways for neighbours to talk and connect. Join us at neighbourly.co.nz or download our new iPhone and Android apps.
Cycling is just one way to keep your spirits up as memories of summer fade.