The developed world is heading for a crisis with obesity levels rising and fitness levels falling. I am sure that there are a variety of excuses that people use to explain their poor lifestyles and two of them are certainly money and time. It is true that preparing good food and exercising do take time and if you want to participate in sports or go to the gym then there is a cost involved. However, it is possible to use your local neighbourhood to keep active and this is free and a real time saver because it is right outside your door!
Like most working people I am busy most days but I try to find the one hour I need to exercise. Travelling far would be out of the question most days so I have to use the resources that are close to home. Most people live within walking distance of a park or open space and these offer limitless opportunities for enjoying the great outdoors and keeping fit.
Out and About
I run every day but even a brisk walk would serve most people well. You might think that visiting the same park day after day would get boring but somehow it doesn’t. There are always people about to talk to or at least acknowledge and the different seasons bring new sights and sounds to enjoy. The trees and shrubs are constantly changing bringing you beautiful greenery, bright berries and the gorgeous colours of autumn. You may be lucky enough to have fruits to pick and there is often wildlife to watch including birds and squirrels.
Leaving your troubles behind for a short break in the park will help you to feel energised and invigorated. You may think that you don’t have the time to exercise but you will probably find that spending an hour outdoors will make you much more productive for the rest of the day. You will end up achieving just as much but your health will benefit immensely into the bargain. You will escape that feeling of being on a treadmill of work and chores. Me time is as important as the exercise. In truth you don’t even need a park, the local streets are a great place to walk and run too.
Order your Thoughts
I use my breaks in the park to order my thoughts, to resolve my issues and to think about the things I need to achieve. Everyone needs time to think and this somehow seems easier when you are on the move. Exercise is as therapeutic for the mind as it is for the body and an hour spent exercising could save you many hours of frustration in the long run.
All you need to enjoy the local park is the will to get out of your chair and the right footwear. If you are going to spend time on your feet then comfort is key so treat yourself to a pair of walking boots or running shoes and if your park is anything like mine then you might need a pair of wellies for walking in the winter. It can get a bit boggy but that is just part of the charm. Except the time when I slipped and fell in the mud which wasn’t charming at all!
Article by Sally Stacey