Keeping Fit in the Bush
With every new year, come new year's resolutions. It almost seems mandatory to start the new year with a challenge, whether it is giving up chocolate or carbs, cutting out a bad habit or starting the new year by keeping fit.
It is important to remain active for both your health and wellbeing.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa not being physically active can have a long-term effect on your well-being including:
- Increased chances of developing a wide variety of diseases, including obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
- Depression, anxiety and stress.
- In comparison to those who exercise regularly, inactive people double their risk of suffering a heart attack.
When you are on Safari or in the bush it can sometimes be tough to keep fit or be active, especially as you are so busy during the day.
Camp Manager Emma Summers takes us through some of the activities that can be done from our Selati Camp.
What can you do to keep fit in the bush?
Walking is a great form of exercise. It can help improve your bone strength, reduce your overall body fat and increase your stamina.
Bushwalks enable you to learn more about the bush and encourage you to see the world from a different perspective. If you are lucky you might get the chance to see animals like elephants, rhino or lions on foot – a breathtaking experience not to be missed and they make you realise how small you really are.
When you are back in camp why not grab your bird book and binoculars and see how many different species you can find. You could also grab a tree/grass book and spend your time examining their smallest details – in no time at all you will be able to identify a myriad of different plants.
Keep track of your daily steps by wearing a smartwatch or by using a fitness app on your phone. These devices can be a great motivator whilst helping to challenge you to move about more.
Grab a volleyball and head down to the riverbed for a competitive or fun game with your fellow students. Volleyball is an exciting sport and a combination of jumping, running and hitting will give you an amazing energetic cardio workout.
Never played before? Have no fear as it won’t take long for you to learn the basics.
Skipping rope and resistance bands
What about bringing a skipping rope or some resistance bands with you? These items are inexpensive, lightweight and won’t take up space in your suitcase – perfect to help you keep fit on the go.
Many of us used to love jumping with our skipping ropes as a child so why not enjoy it as an adult? Did you know that skipping can have the same aerobic benefits as running but has a lower impact on your joints?
Resistance bands are simply latex rubber bands. As you use them, they stretch, the more you stretch them the more intense the resistance becomes and the harder the workout becomes. These bands help to strengthening and toning your muscles and can aid in your stretching routine.
That wonderful meditative practice that originated in ancient India. Bring your own yoga mat, sleeping mat, grab a mat from the gym or simply embrace mother earth.
Yoga helps to build strength, increase flexibility and improves your muscle tone. Stressed out with studying for you Apprentice Filed Guide exam? Have no fear by concentrating on your breathing and your movements, yoga has been shown to be effective at reducing your stress levels and bringing about an inner calm.
Miss going to the gym? Well, the good news is that over the years past student have built gyms in some of the camps. Here you can lift some weights, flip an old car tyre or use the push-up bars. It might be small, but it is perfectly formed and a great addition to your workout routine – this is a real way to get Bush Fit!
Lead a fitness activity with fellow students
If you love keeping fit and have a favourite keep fit activity, why not show your fellow course participants? Head down to the riverbed or find a spot around camp in the shade and let the workout begin.
While you are at home you can download exercise videos to your phone or laptop that you can use offline whilst you are in camp. Cardio, HIT, yoga, pilates, the list goes on. With so many to choose from it will be impossible to get bored with the same routine.
Whatever form of exercise you decide to do please remember to always keep water with you and stay hydrated.
Let the keeping fit regime begin!