Department of Health & Human Services
Premiers Active April
Active April regular, Helen, proves that age is no barrier to keeping active and enjoying the great outdoors.
We sat down with Helen for a chat (it’s hard to keep her still!) and found out how Active April lays the groundwork for all-year round activity.
The challenge to complete 30 minutes of activity every day in April is something that motivates me to keep fit. At my age, (almost 70), it isn’t as easy to be active, especially as the joints stiffen, but I know that “move it or lose it” is particularly appropriate, and that the effort is worth it. I’ve had to give up golf due to increasing back pain, but I know 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 enjoy the sense of achievement as I record my daily activity.
I love early morning lap swimming in summer, and walking in the cooler months. I love cross country skiing in winter and am fortunate to live just a half hour drive from the snow so I can ski several times a week.
I live just a block from the pool so I can get up at 7, jump on the bike to ride to the pool, swim my laps, then I’m home again by 8 before it gets too hot. I know most of the other lap swimmers and staff, so it’s nice to chat when we get out of the pool. Once the pool closes at the end of March, the weather has cooled enough that I’m ready for other activities.
Our town is surrounded by beautiful bush and hills, criss-crossed by firetracks and bike trails, so there are plenty of places to walk. Falls Creek and the Bogong High Plains are only 30km away, with gorgeous scenery and a cool climate. Then there is the beauty and history of Beechworth or the glorious autumn trees in Bright, the majestic Mt Buffalo and the challenging Mt Bogong, all within easy driving distance. I’m spoilt for choice.
I do like the solitude of being by myself, and my early morning walks are always solo. But I also enjoy walking with my husband or with the local bushwalking group. 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 comfy.
I like to 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 (aka The Olgas).
I’d like to ski 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.
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 do some activity before breakfast. Once it is 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.
Many seniors feel they are too old to exercise. I believe everyone can find an activity that they can do, whether it is 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 down side that I can see.
To celebrate Premier’s Active April and help Victorians get outdoors and get active, Parks Victoria park rangers and volunteers will lead a series of guided walks through parks across Victoria.
To take part in any of these walks, click here
For more information about the walks call 13 1963 or visit the website.
Last updated: April 12, 2018 at: 10:51 am
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