Dancing with nature
By Lisa Marshall | Director Wild Women On Top
I used to think that exercise needed to be HARD. That unless it had me huffing and puffing, my muscles aching and my lungs bursting, I wasn’t getting the benefit of moving.
But I was wrong.
I’ve come to understand that there’s a place for all kinds of movement and all kinds of intensity and they all come with their own unique health benefits.
Yes, you’ve got to do those short, sharp bursts to get the benefits of interval training a few times a week. Yes, it’s essential to do some kind of strength or resistance training where you build muscle and gain strength to give you to best foundations to support all the activities you want to do. But these high-intensity training sessions aren’t the only ‘feel good’ sensations out there.
Every time I head out on a long trail walk, or an ocean swim, a jog along the beach, or a session on the stand-up paddle board, I am acquainted with all sorts of feel-good sensations. Feelings of freedom, happiness and health – the benefits that come when you dance with nature.
This morning I swam in the clearest blue water, through a huge school of fish, and for a moment, I forgot that I was swimming. I had become so entranced by the sight before me, the magic of the underwater world and the bright colored fish swimming alongside me. I forgot I was having to expend energy and effort to move forward.
I was lost in the magic of nature.
On Saturday, I trekked for 6 hours along the beautiful trails of the lower Blue Mountains. I was distracted from the trails steep climbs and the day’s humidity by the red and purple parrots, the birdsong in the bush and the massive, great trees that towered above. I danced in the dappled light of the forest floor. I was delighted by the waterholes that sparkled in the morning light and invigorated by the mountain air and the rush of climbing a steep summit to see the view of the valley below from where we had come.
It’s at these times that I feel I have found my true love.
I don’t have the distractions of devices, emails and phone calls. I’m not worried about the things I can’t change and the day to day worries that often consume me.
I feel fulfilled, free and happy - simply for being myself.
I go home with a renewed sense of calm and focus. With energy and courage to face whatever the day might bring. Moving in nature, whatever activity it might involve, has given me the balance I have long been looking for. I love the fast, challenging workouts I do several times a week, and then I am rewarded with the benefits of endurance, mobility, agility and mental strength that come with exercising in natural environments. When I go out with the girls and trek train, we work hard on the hills and summits, rewarding our hard work with calm walks along coastal trails.
We reflect, talk about life and dance with nature. We connect as humans and we connect with the balancing, beautiful, persistent forces of nature. It is here that we are reminded what is truly important in life. How blessed we are to live in a country that preserves natural beauty, encourages outdoor activity and provides a natural playground for us to enjoy.
Take every opportunity you can to engage with nature. You will be rewarded and you will be reminded. Reminded that everything we do impacts the world in which we live. For us and future generations to enjoy these beautiful places and experience the pure joy of moving in nature, we need to disconnect more from our devices, and connect more with nature.