Get outside

… a source of beauty, inspiration and good health

This month is dedicated to senior citizens. It is also a month dedicated to exercise and keeping fit.

So, when last did you go for a walk in the country?

In Queen’s Park? on the beach or even in your garden?

Are you taking time to commune with nature? Taking time to smell the roses isn’t often easy here, because roses don’t do that well, and most of us don’t take time to grow them, far less smell them.

But the point of this old, English clich? is that God’s great outdoors is a source of constant beauty, inspiration and good health. And it’s free!

First, the beauty and the inspiration. Even if you live in heavily concreted suburbs or city street, you can surely find your way to the nearest green space or beach.

Queen’s Park isn’t enjoyed nearly as much as it should be. Ever gazed on the great baobab tree? And it’s amazing how deserted our beaches often are.

There are few sights more beautiful than our gorgeous beaches, especially at sunrise and sunset. Have you ever watched the sun rise over Bathsheba or Foul Bay? When did you last watch a sunset over Carlisle Bay?

When did you last enjoy the view anywhere in the Scotland district, or at Skeete’s Bay or Bath beach, Hackleton’s Cliff or Harrismith? Andromeda Gardens, Hunte’s Gardens, Orchid World, Welchman Hall Gully or the Flower Forest?

And when did you last walk on the beach at Bathsheba, Cattlewash or Long Pond, sand between your toes, water lapping at your feet, the birds wheeling and coming again, and the wind and the salt in the air?

If you say “Not for a long time”, then you’re missing God’s greatest gift of all, to us lucky people living here in this little paradise. You’re missing a beauty that millions would “give their eye teeth for”, and millions more have never seen the like of – and we take it all for granted!

And then I mentioned good health.

Well, where better to exercise than the great outdoors, enjoying the beauty, the fresh air, and maybe meeting people. The Rockley to Hastings Boardwalk is great, and has reintroduced some people to their legs and the outdoors!

But it can get a bit crowded, and could lead to talk instead of walk! But what about walking the beach, or walking in company in the country, or at Queen’s Park, or at playing fields when cricket’s not on?

But while walking’s great for all the reasons above, and it keeps heart, lungs and legs in shape, it doesn’t do anything for upper body or core strength.

Can you swim? If you can, you’re doubly blessed, because swimming is far and away the best exercise for the whole body.

But too many of us had grannies or mothers who warned us “The sea en’ got nuh back door” and scared us of going in the water. Well, there’s hope, because tutors at the Aquatic Centre can teach you to swim … give them a call … what a great challenge to take up and conquer!

Walking is aerobic exercise, and we also need resistance exercise. Also, walking can be hard on the joints of some seniors. So we need upper body exercise and resistance exercise. This is where a gym and, best of all, a personal trainer comes in.

But if you can’t afford it, you can still do your push ups and abdominal crunches on the beach or on a mat in your own garden, and you get the double benefits of fitness and the great outdoors.

And if you haven’t exercised for a while, you’ll soon discover how much more invigorated you are, how much more energy you have, and how much more cheerful you will be.

Exercise not only makes you live longer through its many benefits to your heart, your strength, your circulation, your bones and your metabolism, it specifically improves and can even prevent obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure; and it lifts mood and helps serious depression.

So move it, love it and live with nature every day!

*This article was submitted by Senator Henry Fraser.

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