The days are getting longer, the sun is staying higher and the local flora is green and flowering. Spring is here and there really is no better time to get outside and enjoy some of the beautiful areas the Macedon Ranges provides its local residents. With the current COVID-19 situation it has never been clearer how important getting outdoors, amongst nature, and moving your body is for your health and well-being. Many indoor exercise spaces are closed and evidence heavily supports a decreased risk of spread when exercising in outdoor spaces. The benefits of moving your body, getting your daily dose of Vitamin D and the relaxing and mood boosting effect of being amongst a green and natural landscape cannot be promoted enough.
Unfortunately, most Australians do not meet the Australian Guidelines for Recommended daily exercise which recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week, or 150 minutes total per week. This means you can split your total exercise time across all seven days of the week or complete longer bouts of exercise across fewer days of the week. It is important to remember that this is the minimum recommendation and it is highly recommended you aim for 30 minutes daily in order to help maintain optimal physical and mental health.
The Physical and Mental benefits of regular exercise are well researched and unfortunately not achieving your weekly exercise requirements is one of the leading factors influencing of all of Australia’s leading causes of death and Chronic Disease. This includes: Cancer, Heart Disease, Osteoarthritis, Diabetes, Anxiety/Depression, Dementia/Alzheimers and Stroke to name a few. The good news is it is always the easiest and cheapest way of decreasing your risk of developing, as well as managing, all of these conditions.
With our current global position Mental Health conditions are more prevalent than ever. A single bout of exercise releases ‘Happy chemicals’ from our brain called endorphins. These endorphins boost mood and self-esteem while also contributing to: increased energy levels, reduced stress, improved sleep, increased connection and relationships with others while decreasing the risk of developing a Mental Health condition.
The physical and mental health benefits of exercise and getting outdoors is important across all age groups. You are never too old to exercise, enjoy life and improve on your current health situation. The Macedon Ranges has many locations and facilities that support exercise for all age groups, some of which we aim to outline below.
The new Campaspe River Walk in Kyneton, developed by the Macedon Ranges Shire Council in conjunction with local community groups, support groups and health services is a great example of a FREE area accessible to many that can be utilised to assist everything mentioned above. This fantastic development includes a walk from the Kyneton Botanic Gardens to the Piper Street Park area with an outdoor gym facility at the half way point that is directly accessible from St Agnes Place for those that don’t feel up to the approximate 500m walk from each end. The walk follows the beautiful natural landscape along the Campaspe River and include signage outlining local attractions, flora and fauna as well as health and exercise-based information. The River Walk is in continued development with additional signage, seating, drinking facilities, toilets and educational information planned. You can increase the length of your walk by including a lap of the Botanic Gardens while also allowing the kids to access the newly developed playground area that makes a lot of adults envious it’s not designed for them.
The Campaspe River Walk and the associated areas outlined above are a great example of outdoor spaces ideal to reach your daily exercise target as well as experience the natural beauty of our region. There are many similar locations within the Macedon Ranges such as Mount Macedon and its many trail walks/hikes or the paved walk to the amazing summit views at the cross. Gisborne has some fantastic parkland with attached playgrounds, sports ovals as well as a paved river walk. Woodend has many bushland trails accessible from Fingerpost Road, a large playground in the centre of town as well as the well maintained oval. Kyneton, Gisborne and Woodend all have well made skateparks for the kids as well as access to BMX tracks and areas to ride a mountain bike or trail walk such as Bald Hill Reserve near Kyneton or the Finger Post Road mountain bike trail head in Woodend. Outside of the already mentioned activities all of the green spaces, ovals and river walks are perfect for completing Yoga, Tai Chi, running, stretching or taking a mindful minute or ten!
Macedon Ranges residents are extremely lucky to be surrounded by such beautiful natural spaces and sights. With Spring upon us and a higher than average amount of rain over winter there has never been a better time to get out “Amongst the Gum Trees” just like the famous John Williamson song points out. We at Campaspe Physiotherapy encourage you experience the physical and mental benefits of getting outside and getting moving. If you have any concerns or questions regarding accessing some of the above-mentioned locations or require assistance with developing an exercise program/managing an injury please contact the clinic.
Here are some links Below for walking trails in the region.