Re­dis­cover a love of na­ture

Benalla Ensign - - News -

As day­light sav­ings ap­proaches and the weather gets warmer, LiveLighter and Parks Vic­to­ria are en­cour­ag­ing Vic­to­ri­ans to re­dis­cover their love of na­ture to im­prove their health and well­be­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to LiveLighter re­search, one in two Aus­tralians say they have a park within five min­utes’ walk from their home, in Be­nalla that fig­ure would be closer to one in one.

De­spite this, less than a third of Vic­to­ri­ans visit parks and open spa­ces more than once a week.

LiveLighter pro­gram man­ager Alice Bastable says day­light sav­ings is a chance to ex­er­cise more and make the most of the sur­round­ings.

‘‘Our re­search shows that while more than half of Aussies pre­fer to ex­er­cise out­doors, we’re still not mak­ing the most of the beau­ti­ful parks on our doorsteps,’’ Ms Bastable said.

‘‘As day­light sav­ings be­gins, it’s a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to fall even more in love with na­ture and make the most of longer days, brighter morn­ings and more pleas­ant weather.’’

Re­search from Parks Vic­to­ria and Deakin Univer­sity has re­vealed that be­ing in con­tact with na­ture can re­duce the risk of lifestylere­lated health con­di­tions such as type 2 di­a­betes, car­dio­vas­cu­lar disease, de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety — all of which are among the fastest grow­ing health con­di­tions in Vic­to­ria.

After a long cold win­ter, Parks Vic­to­ria health and com­mu­nity ac­ti­va­tion man­ager Shauna Jones said now was the time to step out­side and en­joy the count­less health ben­e­fits that came from be­ing in na­ture.

‘‘I urge ev­ery­body to get out there and soak up some na­ture — whether it’s a nearby park or one of our nat­u­ral state parks,’’ Ms Jones said.

‘‘Spend­ing time out­doors en­cour­ages peo­ple to be­come more ac­tive and can help us re­duce stress lev­els, re­cover faster from ill­nesses and in­juries, and im­prove men­tal well­be­ing.

‘‘It also has pos­i­tive ef­fects on our abil­ity to learn, solve prob­lems and be creative.’’

Ms Bastable said reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity was one of the best things you could do for your own and your fam­ily’s health.

‘‘School-age kids thrive best when they have one hour of mod­er­ate-tovig­or­ous phys­i­cal ex­er­cise ev­ery day,’’ she said.

And adults should also be clock­ing up be­tween twoand-a-half and five hours of mod­er­ate in­ten­sity ex­er­cise ev­ery week.

De­spite this four out of five peo­ple are still not meet­ing their reg­u­lar ex­er­cise goals.

‘‘The ben­e­fits of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity go beyond main­tain­ing a healthy weight, so Vic­to­ri­ans should aim to hit the rec­om­mended daily amount of ex­er­cise,’’ Ms Bastable said.

Get out and about: Parks Vic­to­ria and LiveLighter are en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple in Be­nalla to make the most of na­ture this sum­mer.

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