Victorians urged to get back in touch with nature
As daylight savings approaches and the weather gets warmer LiveLighter and Parks Victoria are encouraging Victorians to rediscover their love of nature to improve their health and wellbeing.
According to LiveLighter research, 1 in 2 Australians say they have a park within 5 minutes’ walk from their home. Despite this, less than a third visit parks and open spaces more than once a week.
LiveLighter Program Manager Alice Bastable says that daylight savings is a chance to exercise more and make the most of their surroundings.
“Our research shows that while more than half of Aussies prefer to exercise outdoors, we’re still not making the most of the beautiful parks on our doorsteps. As daylight savings begins, it’s a perfect opportunity to fall even more in love with nature and make the most of longer days, brighter mornings and more pleasant weather,” said Ms Bastable.
Research from Parks Victoria and Deakin University has revealed that being in contact with nature can reduce the risk of lifestyle-related health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety – all of which are among the fastest growing health conditions in Victoria.
After a long cold winter, Shauna Jones, Manager Health and Community Activation from Parks Victoria, said now is the time to step outside and enjoy the countless health benefits that come from being in nature.
“I urge everybody to get out there and soak up some nature – whether it’s a nearby park or one of our natural state parks! Spending time outdoors encourages people to become more active and can help us reduce stress levels, recover faster from illnesses and injuries, and improve mental wellbeing. It also has positive effects on our ability to learn, solve problems and be creative,” said Ms Jones.
Ms Bastable said regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your own and your family’s health.
”School-age kids thrive best when they have one hour of moderate to vigorous physical exercise every day, according to Ms Bastable, and adults should also be clocking up between two-and-a-half and five hours of moderate intensity exercise every week. Despite this four out of five people are still not meeting their regular exercise goals,” Ms Bastable said.
“The benefits of physical activity go beyond maintaining a healthy weight so Victorians should aim to hit the recommended daily amount of exercise.”
LiveLighter and Parks Victoria’s top outdoor tips:
- Get active and social. Instead of catching up with friends for a meal or drink, head to the beach or your local park and catch up for a walk or game of cricket.
- Research shows that exercising outside can improve your mental health more than exercising indoors.
- Check out www.parks.vic.gov.au for great ideas and information on Victoria’s national, state and urban parks before heading outdoors.
- Instead of watching television or jumping on the computer in your spare time why not go for a brisk 30 to 45 minute walk through the state’s natural surroundings instead?
- Break your walk into a few 10 or 15 minute sessions to make it easier to achieve
LiveLighter is a public health education campaign encouraging Australians to lead healthier lives by changing what they eat and drink and being more active.
In Victoria, the campaign is delivered by Cancer Council Victoria. In Western Australia, the LiveLighter campaign is delivered by Cancer Council WA and is funded by the State Government of Western Australia. For more information visit www.livelighter.com.au.
About Parks Victoria:
Parks Victoria is a statutory authority that manages more than 3,000 of Victoria’s different parks and reserves making up 18 per cent of Victoria’s landmass, 75 per cent of Victoria’s Wetlands and 70 per cent of Victoria’s Coastline.
Healthy Parks Healthy People is at the core of everything Parks Victoria does. Parks and nature are an important part of improving and maintaining health, both for individuals and the community. Parks Victoria has a clear role to play in connecting people and communities with parks.
Parks Victoria is committed to delivering works on the ground across Victoria’s park network to protect and enhance park values. It is our primary responsibility to ensure parks are healthy and resilient for current and future generations. This includes world class conservation projects, facilities and experiences across the estate.
Spokespeople available for interview:
LiveLighter Project Manager and Dietitian: Alice Bastable, Vic
Parks Victoria Manager Health and Community Activation, Shauna Jones
For further information please contact:
Clare O’Shea M: 0428 252 923 E: firstname.lastname@example.org