Helen, an Active April participant tells us about her Active April outdoor pursuits
I decided to become involved in Active April for the challenge of completing 30-minutes of activity every day in April. At my age, almost 70, it isn’t easy to be active, especially as the joints stiffen, but I know that the “move it or lose it” adage applies, and that every effort I make to stay active is worth it.
Even though I’ve had to give up golf due to increasing back pain, I find I can still walk, swim and ride my pushbike to keep fit. Each summer I swim at the local pool most mornings, but the pool closes at the end of March, so April is a time to try other activities such as cycling, pole walking and easy jogging. The Active April challenge is a great motivator, and I’ve utilised the Active April free visits to the YMCA pool in Melbourne.
I love the sense of achievement I feel as I record my daily activity. I take the boost in motivation I feel from Active April and spread it through the year. I love early morning swimming in summer, trail hiking in the cooler months, cross-country skiing in winter, and as I am fortunate to live just a half an hour drive from the snow I can ski several times a week. I’m spoilt for choice for activities because our town is surrounded by beautiful bush and hills, criss-crossed by fire tracks and bike trails.
I like the serenity outdoors, walking in the early morning, and I also enjoy walking with my husband or with the local U3A bushwalking group. It doesn’t take a lot of equipment to get out for a hike – in summer I always carry snake bite bandages in a bum bag, along with my phone and a whistle (just in case I am out of the reception area), and I wear long pants. I’ve never had a problem with snakes, but I usually see a couple of snakes each summer. They usually slither away pretty quickly. If not, I back away and wait till they do. For longer hikes, I always go with someone else, and I carry water and a snack, and wear a hat and sunscreen. Occasionally I’ll wear hiking boots, but sneakers are lighter and more comfortable.
I like to hit the road and travel around Australia. And when I do, I like get my activity out of the way early in the day, so I’ll plan to walk for 30-minutes before breakfast. When we camp we like to walk to explore the area. We are looking forward to walking around Uluru (Ayers Rock) next month, and exploring the Valley of the Winds at Kata Juta, also known as The Olgas.
Aside from winning at Active April, my fitness goals for 2018 include skiing the Kangaroo Hoppet International Cross Country Ski Race at Falls Creek in August. If I can maintain or increase my current level of fitness, and do some longer distance skiing this winter, I would like to tackle the full 42km course.
Because I’m so active, people often ask me for tips to get moving every day. I advise to try and keep your body moving every day. Getting out the door is the hardest part, no matter how tired I feel before I leave the house, I always feel better once I start moving. Laying out the clothes and shoes when I go to bed so they are ready for the morning is something I find helps a lot. I do it every night now. Setting the alarm can help too, but I’m not rigid about getting up at a set time. I get up when I wake up, but I always commit to doing some activity before breakfast. Once it’s done I feel great. If I am injured or ill, it is important to allow time for healing and recovery. A slower walk, or even several short walks during the day, might be possible. Otherwise, missing a day or more of activity is far less important than getting well.
When I talk about Active April, I’m often asked why other seniors should register. I say Active April is important for seniors because some seniors may feel they are too old to exercise.
However I believe everyone can find an activity that they can do, whether it's walking, gardening, dancing, stretching or something else. Start short and easy and build up from there. The more often you do it, the easier it gets, and the stronger your body becomes. Joining Active April gives you a goal to aim for and a sense of achievement. Recording your daily exercise online becomes addictive, and then there are the freebies, the helpful hints and inspiring articles. There is no downside that I can see.
For more information visit: www.activeapril.vic.gov.au
For a free fitness chart and advice visit our free fitness wall chart page (PDF Download). Or for more information on starting an exercise program visit better health channel.
To view the latest information on Active April visit their Facebook page
For more details and to register visit Parks Victoria - Walks for Health.
And for more opportunities to get out doors visit parkweb
Active April participant
Helen stays on the move to get the best out of life.