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Health and Wellbeing - October 2014

02 Oct 2014

Ideas for outdoor exercise

Spring and summer are the perfect times to get outdoors and exercise. As an immediate precaution, make sure you protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Sunscreen, head protection and some lightweight workout gear will give you a great start!

Mobilise your family and friends
Exercising can be fun, but it’s always more fun in a group. Share your passion with others. Take the lead in getting your group active!

Explore new walking trails
You don’t have to travel far in the garden state to find some new trails to explore. You can get off the beaten track, or walk on well-made and maintained paths depending on what you like. You can find something close by, or travel far – take a day and explore the coast, the country or the city.

Here are a few suggestions – The Artistes Walk, The Anniversary Trail, The Docklands Family Walk and The Klingsporn trail. All have a little bit of history too.

Arrange an active weekend away
Rather than co-ordinating a “relaxing” weekend away, why not arrange an active weekend for you and your family/friends? You can put it together yourself or seek out a professional to facilitate it for you. They can bring exercise equipment, or even teach yoga or pilates to balance out the workouts. Combine great healthy food with three or four hours of activity and exercise per day for great results!

 

Five tips to help manage lower back pain

Before you reach for the medication… make sure consider the following tips to help manage your lower back pain for the long term:

Exercise.
It doesn’t need to be strenuous, but maintaining regular and gentle exercise routines like walking and getting out of a seated position will help.

Limit down time.
Excessive bed rest or lying down can be counterproductive. It may help relieve the immediate symptoms by taking pressure off the spine, but will not resolve underlying issues. If you can move, then you should. And the more you move the better!

Strengthen your core.
Poor core muscular conditioning places strain on the lower back. Strengthening the core muscles will provide more support to the spine.

Improve your flexibility.
Tight hamstrings, hip flexors and lower back muscles can play havoc with your posture and alignment of your pelvis. Combined with balanced strength work in these areas, stretching and improving flexibility will provide long-term solutions and pain management.

Consult a physiotherapist.
Rather than relying on generalised advice or information, consult a physiotherapist. They will assess your personal situation and pain, and then prescribe treatment and actions including strengthening and flexibility that you can complete in your own time.

 

Vitamin D deficiency

It’s tricky isn’t it – on one hand, we are encouraged to be sun smart and stay out of the sun’s harmful rays. Then on the other, we are told about a downside to being deficient in Vitamin D brought on by a lack of exposure to sunlight.

Medical evidence suggests and confirms that Vitamin D is crucial for muscle and bone strength and development, and avoiding osteoporosis.  

You may be deficient in Vitamin D under the following circumstances:

  • If you avoid contact with the sun for medical reasons;
  • You wear full body covers for personal or religious reasons;
  • Your work life or nature restricts your exposure to sunlight;
  • You have spent significant time in hospital or in a care situation; and
  • You suffer from diseases or take medication that impacts the production of Vitamin D in the body (for example: obesity, renal or liver disease).

How much sun is enough?
Generally, the recommended exposure to sunlight is 5-15 minutes per day, outside the sun’s most intense period of 10-2pm. Solariums are not a suitable source or means of exposing the skin to the sun. Consult your doctor for more information, related tests and further advice.

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