It is officially Autumn and here at Foot Solutions we are definitely noticing the evenings getting darker already. It’s tempting to find a big comfy blanket and start hibernating at this time of year but where’s the fun in that? This is a great time of year to get out and about and enjoy the many changing colours of the season.
Getting out and staying active is a great way to stay healthy in the colder seasons. In fact, researchers over at Harvard Health recommend 150 minutes of regular exercise each week to help boost your immune system and more.
The Many Benefits of Outdoor Exercise:
~ It Boosts Your Immune System.
You don’t have to exercise outside to reap immune boosting benefits, but it helps if you can.
Studies in Japan have found that spending time in natural leafy surroundings increases the number of NK cells we have. NK cells aka natural killers are lymphocytes (white blood cells) that are vital to the immune system. In Japan, there is a popular activity called shinrin-yoku or Forest Bathing, a natural type of therapeutic exercise that encourages participants to take in the natural environment around them for improved health. The great thing about Forest Bathing is that you don’t need a forest or have to exercise excessively. You can still enjoy the benefits even by taking a relaxing stroll in a park or garden.
Getting outside means getting some cleaner air and a boost of vitamin D too. Did you know that most people in Ireland have some level of vitamin D deficiency? We simply don’t get out enough. Ireland may not have the sunniest climate but what little sunlight we do get still helps boost our vitamin D levels. Amongst a host of other benefits, vitamin D gives a boost to your immune system.
~ It’s a Natural Antidepressant.
Outdoor exercise can help ward off seasonal affective disorder (SAD), depression and anxiety because sunshine naturally increases serotonin, a hormone that affects your mood. And exercise itself produces endorphins, another feel-good hormone that boosts your mood and reduces pain.
~ It Challenges Your Body.
When exercising on ever-changing outdoor terrain, your body is more challenged than when it is working out on a flat indoor surface.
~ You May Be More Likely to Stick With It.
Outdoor exercise somehow doesn’t feel like as much of a workout as running on the treadmill, thereby making it more appealing than a gym session.
~ It Provides Mental Relief.
Outdoor exercise is enjoyable and feels more like play than a chore. It helps to relieve tension and stress.
~ You Can Turn It Into A Social Outing.
Exercise can become a lot more fun if you involve family and friends. Instead of meeting a friend for lunch or coffee, consider going for a walk. Or take your family out for a walk together instead of watching TV after dinner.
~ It’s Free.
All you need to get a fantastic workout is a safe, well-lit park, track, neighborhood or walking trail, and your bodyweight. No gym membership required.
Protect Yourself This Winter
In the colder months we tend to stay in more and wait for autumn and winter to pass. With the year we’re having, it is imperative that we each take care of ourselves. Take action now to boost your immunity and also to solve any aches and pains that have been niggling away at you like back and foot problems.
We’ve heard a lot about social distancing and good hygiene this year, but there’s nothing to stop us looking after our health with regular exercise and fresh air. Staying in can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Wrap up in warm clothes and put on some sturdy shoes and take a walk around the block each day. The air, exercise and seeing some friendly faces will help you feel much better.
Movement Is The Best Medicine
There is an exercise type to suit everyone, no matter what their activity level might be.
Walking – It may surprise you to learn that walking has a host of health benefits. Not only does it lighten your mood but it can also help with strengthening muscles, supporting joints and even improving your quality of sleep. A 20 minute walk every day, at any pace you can manage, could even improve circulation and ward off heart disease.
Jogging – Keeping a pace somewhere between walking and running, jogging can help improve your cardiovascular fitness but also can help you cope better with depression and worry. Exercise releases the body’s good mood hormones which reduce stress.
Running – We all know that running is good for fitness but did you know that running actively helps your immune system too? Research by Nieman and Laurel M. Wentz found that running can improve your body’s ability to recognise and fight disease. They also found that running can help to reduce the risk of upper respiratory infections and flu. All good news.
If you have not been particularly active and feel that running is not quite where your fitness level is at, challenge yourself this autumn. Start out with regular walks and when you feel ready, add in a minute of jogging and so on as your fitness improves. A little more each week and you will soon have the running bug.
Always go at your pace and consult your GP if you have any concerns before starting a fitness programme. For any foot problems, pop one of our stores or email to see how we can help you.
Staying Active Closer To Home
Not everyone can or wants to get outside and not everyone likes to exercise. Do not fear – you can still stay fit at home without any extra equipment and without it feeling like you’re exercising.
Housework As Fitness – We probably don’t need to tell you that house work gets the heart rate up. Hoovering the house though can have the same benefits as a brisk walk! To get the blood pumping a little bit more and boost your immune system, add in some lunges as you vacuum and some side stretches as you mop.
Gardening As Fitness – You might not realise it but when you are gardening you are performing some of the same exercises as the average gym bunny. Squats when you’re weeding, weight lifting when you’re moving around bags of soil and heavy plant pots. You also walk more than you possibly realise. Gardening ticks a lot of boxes for fitness so if your flowerbeds look a bit tired, get out and tidy them up whilst boosting your immune system at the same time.
Just 30 Minutes Could Get You Active Again
Here at Foot Solutions, we offer a free, no obligation, assessment for anyone experiencing foot problems or in fact anyone looking to prevent foot problems. In just 30 minutes our trained pedorthists will take you through our 10 step assessment. First we discuss your health and lifestyle and any foot problems you may be experiencing. Then your pedorthist will take a series of measurements, a pressure map and check your gait. After your final balance test, your pedorthist will take you through a range of options that could help you solve your foot problems. Our expert pedorthists resolve foot pain for people every day. To book your free assessment, contact us today.
Foot Solutions For An Active Lifestyle
At Foot Solutions, we meet customers of all activity levels. Some are sporty and love to run and hike. Others prefer a leisurely walk around their local park each day to get them out of the house. For William Dillon, pain was preventing him from staying as active as he liked. As an ex-army man, William is used to being fit and was determined to get out and start walking about again.
“I have suffered with a lot of foot, knee and lower back pain which had significantly curtailed my active lifestyle. I enjoyed lots of walking and didn’t want to give this up but pain and discomfort were stopping me. I tried everything but nothing worked.
A friend of mine advised me to give Foot Solutions a try because he’d had similar issues and was delighted with the help and solutions he got there.
I went into my nearest Foot Solutions store in Stillorgan, was put through a comprehensive Foot Assessment by their very experienced Pedorthist who recommended a firm orthotic (to realign my body and to offload pressure on my feet and knees) together with a pair of extra cushion walking shoes.
I am x-army so, as you can imagine when the Pedorthist gave me a full list of exercises to do and instructions to follow, I followed them to the letter. It was explained to me that orthotics are one part of the recovery solution but it is very necessary to follow all other instructions given. This ensures a much faster recovery and I am a testament to that.
Within a couple of weeks, I went back into Foot Solutions to report that the pain in my feet was gone and the pain in knees and lower back was hugely reduced. Life is so much better and I am back walking as much as before. I wanted to share my experience in this testimonial so that I can help others in similar discomfort.
I am so sorry I didn’t go into Foot Solutions when I was much younger then I could have avoided all this injury! Learn from me please!”
William wishes he had come to Foot Solutions sooner – if you are living with pain too, come and meet one of our friendly and helpful pedorthists sooner rather than later. Book an appointment online now so Foot solutions can help you get active again this Autumn.