A much higher focus should be placed on healthy life activities, – both from the school’s and from our politicians. We see in Norway today, that more and more of the large outdoor organizations work closely and as a team with politicians and health professionals. They do so to increase the motivation for the healthy life activities of the Norwegian people – Because life is precious. This is an important and big step in the right direction, and it has become very popular in this country.
There is no doubt that there has been a gradual change in the world since the Industrial Revolution (1700s – 1800s). We are much less physically active – both at work and in our own free time. Worldwide, 4 out of 5 young people aged 13-15 are less physically active than recommended. This is a very unfortunate direction.
The use of TV and computer has become a big part of our everyday lives. This has led to sedentary work. We cycle and walk less to and from work and in our free time in general. This is of course because many of us own a car or have other means of transportation.
Nature – The world’s best Health Club
There are countless alternatives to healthy living activities, but my biggest favorite is Mother Nature. You can do a bunch of different physical activities in nature, and it is truly an arena that offers opportunities for everyone – both physically healthy people and people with various disabilities. It`s the world`s best health club for sure. And the best thing of it all; It`s free of charge, and anyone is allowed, whenever they want to. Day or night, it`s always open.
Here are some examples of healthy outdoor activities:
– Go for walks – In the woods, on the beach, or wherever you may wish.
– Mountain hikes
– Training – Use the nature: Lumber lifting, pull-ups in trees, climbing in trees, push-ups etc.
– Fishing trips
– Scuba diving
– Paddle – Kayak, canoe or paddle board
I could still list countless varieties of outdoor activities, because it is only the imagination that sets the limits.
I am a personal fan of really enjoying the nature experience. So if I`m going for a walk, mountain hike or paddle trip, I need the “me-and-nature-alone time” (and of course my precious, Sandra, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, is always my outdoor companion). I have never understood the ones that manage listening to music when they are outdoors in nature – there are so many beautiful natural sounds to listen to. For me nature sounds is a kind of meditation, and it`s really balm for my soul. Body and mind gets to heal from the hectic world we live in, and recharges my batteries.
If I’m out for a run or a jog, I sometimes need music to drive me. This is when I’m looking for the more intensive work out, and music really works wonders in the form of pushing me. We are all different, so it`s all about trying to find the right way for oneself.
Organized Sports in Nature
Humans are social beings, and most often thrive with others. It is a necessity for us to socialize. Being able to be part of a community is an important part of personal development.
We all have different backgrounds, and while some have great memories from a good childhood and upbringing, many have less good experiences, and maybe even traumas. They often struggle to become social beings, and so on through both schooling and careers. It is therefore important to remember that not all people have a solid foundation to start from. They often find it very difficult to feel comfortable in a social setting. How about inviting a person you know could benefit from it, to an organized sports in nature?
There are many social activities to participate in, and it`s not always necessary to pay for a membership. How about starting an activity with friends and friends of friends? In this way, new acquaintances arise, and you get inspiration, motivation and joy from, and with others.
Here in my hometown, there are several options for organized outdoor activity. Some might ask for a small fee, while others keep their exercise groups free of charge. One of the organized sports in nature here in Sandnes is called Mountain Hiking. This group was created by a young man who started hiking for his own part, to get in better shape. He eventually wanted to invite other hikers to join the team. Now the group has grown large, and many new friendships have emerged from it.
When we exercise / are in physical activity with others, it is not only the physical health that improves. This also stimulates our mental health, which in turn leads us to sharpening our senses and getting more focused. This is a great way to socialize, and we get a free health benefit out of it. The positive consequences of an active life are; physical, mental and social. Outdoor life leads to better quality of life and good public health.
The Words of Some Scientists
Here are some words from a handful of scientist:
- Physical activity prolongs life by eight years and postpones chronic diseases by 5-6 years – all it takes ishalf an hour of activity a day for adults, and an hour for young people. Report from the Norwegian Directorate of Health
- It is better to get the inactive to become moderately active, than to increase the activity for those who are already active. Karl-Gerhard Hem, researcher at SINTEF’s Department of Global Health and Welfare.
- If serious measures are not taken, today’s sedentary children risk living shorter lives than their parents. American and Norwegian health surveys conducted over time.
- The health benefits of physical activity are 10 times higher than previous calculations have shown. Those who cycle towork gets 8 years longer with a good quality of life than those who are inactive. Report from the Norwegian Directorate of Health during the National Cycling Conference in Bergen in 2010
- There are three relevant factors that have a positive effect on us when we exercise outdoors; the physical activity, the environmental change and the nature experience. M.L. Sjong, Directorate for Nature Management
- Access to nature and hiking opportunities in the local environment has a positive effect on our well-being. TNS Gallup, The Nature and Environment Barometer, 2010.
Going from inactive to active – One step at a time
Society is set up so that we automatically get help from technological and motorized aids in our everyday lives. This has led to machines often doing the work for us, and the result is that we have become less active. It is therefore important that we focus on getting some physical activity every day – only 20 minutes of daily physical activity is enough to improve our health.
Unfortunately, it has become the case that very many people, both young and old, have an inactive life or a life with too little physical activity. The good news is that this is very easy to reverse. You just have to keep in mind that you don’t set the goals too high in the starting phase.
It is also important to keep in mind that everyone starts from a different point of view – some without any experience and motivation for physical activity, while others often have experiences from earlier in life but needs to find the motivation
A personal example:
I always wanted to be a jogger, but it would take me a few decades before I dared to start. The methods used when I went to school in my teens killed all desire to continue jogging. I have always associated jogging with something negative because of this. Instead of learning the correct running style and informing properly, we were thrown into ground intervals and long jogs – completely without a basis to start from.
When I finally decided, in my grown up years, that it`s time, I proceeded with the following:
- Week 1 – 2: Monday and Thursday – 30 min. walk. Stretching for 5 min. front and back thighs
- Week 3 – 4: Monday – 30 min. walk. Thursday – Walk 10 min + jogs 5 min + walk 5 min + jogs 5 min + walk 5 min. Stretching for 5 min. front and back thighs
- Week 5: Monday, Thursday and Saturday – 30 min. walk. Stretching for 5 min. front and back thighs
- Week 6 – 7: Monday and Thursday – Walk 10 min + jog 7.5 min + walk 2.5 min + jogs 5 min + walk 5 minStretching for 5 min. front and back thighs.
- Week 8 – 9: Monday – Walk 10 min + jog 7.5 min + walk 2.5 min + jogs 5 min + walk 5 min. Stretching for 5 min. front and back thighs. Saturday – Jog 15 min. Stretching for 5 min. front and back thighs.
It is very important to find the right sneakers that will fit your foot. I encourage everyone to ask for help from knowledgeable staff at a local sports shop.
Since completing this program, I have increased my jogging distances and become fond of jogging. I have participated in several races – which is a further development of my goals. Living with the woods as my garden, jogging is a very good alternative for me to stay active.
YOU CAN DO IT!
We all have a personal responsibility for our own health, and how we want to teach our children the right way. Choosing a path where healthy life activities are in focus will give us great health benefits – both physically and mentally. The human body is a fine machinery and must be maintained in the same way as any other machinery.
I have given you several examples of healthy life activities that I personally value. Now it`s up to you to choose what is the right way for you. We are all very different individuals, and what is right for you is not necessarily right for me. However, there is one thing I know goes for every single one of us, and that is; We all benefit from investing in our health.
Good luck finding your way! I`m cheering for you all! You can do it!