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Step into the wild and fall in love with bushwalking!

With summer upon us, the conditions are perfect to begin your soon to be new favourite activity; bushwalking! Besides providing you with the benefits of physical activity, such as improving general health and fitness, reducing risk or effects of chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and increasing lower limb muscular strength and endurance, bushwalking allows you the pleasure of immersing yourself in nature. Going bush triggers a response in humans called Biophilia, which draws on the natural desire to connect with nature and recognise that we’re all a part of something bigger; Planet Earth!

 

Where can I go?

Before you begin there are a few things to consider. First of all, where to go? Fortunately for you, Newcastle and the surrounding areas are blessed with a great range of beautiful landscapes and scenery, from rolling hills, rainforests and of course, ocean views. Not living local? Jump on the web and search something near you. It’s easy!

Being in nature doesn’t require you to spend a day slogging it out climbing mountains, it can be whatever you want it to be. The main goal is to just get outside and off the beaten track! 

If you’re looking for some help, here are some examples of local walks that I recommend:

 

Newcastle

  • Bather’s Way – Nobby’s Beach to Merewether Beach
  • Glenrock Conservation Area – Highfields (on the way to Dudley)
  • Blackbutt Reserve – Blackbutt
  • Awabakal Walk – Dudley
  • Fernleigh Track – Adamstown to Belmont

 

To the North

  • Tomaree National Park – Nelson Bay
  • Yacaaba National Park – Hawk’s Nest

 

To the South

  • Moonee Beach Trail – Munmorah Conservation Area
  • Bouddi National Park – Bouddi
  • Crackneck Lookout – Bateau Bay

 

What to wear?

Given you’re in the elements, it’s best to wear light, long sleeved clothing and a hat to avoid the sun and the heat. As well as this, ensure you have plenty of sunblock available. Appropriate footwear is also very important so hiking or walking shoes are desired. Definitely NO THONGS!

 

Final Tips

  • As you will be walking, hydration is key! Plan out your walk beforehand and ensure you have enough water for the journey. As well as this, pack a light meal or snack. Fruits like bananas and apples are great as they’re full of energy and can usually survive in a bag. 
  • Track your walk! Download an app that tracks your steps or your route and see how far you’ve travelled. Strava is great for this. 
  • Make sure you take all rubbish with you! Don’t ruin it for others.
  • Take regular breaks! This allows you to catch your breath but, even better, allows you plenty of time to admire the flora and fauna. 
  • When you’re out there amongst it all, get a feel for as much as you can. Run your hand through the long grass, touch the moss, dip your toes in a stream, You won’t regret it!
  • Finally, just enjoy it! Take a deep breath, listen to the sounds, watch the wildlife and take the time to recognise your place on this Earth.

If you are ready to begin a program why not consult with Exercise Physiologist Tom Patterson!

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