At The Chiropractic Health Centre we understand that balance is the key to natural health and wellbeing. We realise that these days one can easily get caught up in the rush of the city (myself included) and forget to take time out of our work schedules to unwind in the calm of the outback but, as Capetonians, we really have no excuse.
On Sunday morning, I woke up with an intense desire to do something active and outdoors before the start of a new week. I called up a friend, fellow nature-enthusiast and avid trail runner, Mbulelo Thinta, and shortly after we were on our way to Karbonkelberg in Hout Bay.
It should come as no surprise that a mountainous hike is positive for your mental and physical health. We can all agree that we feel a sense of rejuvenation after time spent in the wilderness but still, we forget to take advantage of this release.
Research has shown that people living in cities have a 20 percent higher risk for anxiety disorders, a 40 percent higher risk for mood disorders and even have a higher risk of developing schizophrenia. Now I’m not saying you can’t live in the city, but retreats to natural spaces can mitigate this and, as Capetonians we are lucky enough to have access to such natural spaces all around us.
An interesting study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, found that people who walked for 90 minutes in a natural area, as opposed to people who walked in a high-traffic urban setting, showed decreased activity in the subgenual prefrontal region of the brain. This area of the brain is associated with the repetitive, negative thought patterns that arise from stress and result in decreased energy and motivation.
Realizing that I had been working flat-out for more than two weeks, I knew that a hike was ‘just what the doctor ordered’ to give me the energy and motivation I needed for the week ahead. Starting at the Sandy Bay car park, we summited Suther peak and continued on to reach Karbonkelberg by midday. The Atlantic coastline views stretched all the way through to Table Bay and beyond. As I rested on the edge of a cliff, dizzyingly high above a ship-wreck below, I was reminded of how lucky we are to have such incredible natural beauty on our doorstep and promised myself that I would dedicate more time outdoor activity.
One reminder, a lesson that I have had to learn too many times… Remember your sunblock! Especially if you plan to wander off the path for a while… Sunburn is no joke and with the change of seasons, you’re skin needs time to adjust to the heat.
Next week, we hope to escape to Bains Kloof and spend the weekend cooling off in the rock pools. What outdoor activities have you got planned to help achieve balance in your life?
Thank you for reading. If you have a chronic muscle/tendon strain, ligament sprain or even a bone fracture and feel like you’d like to try something extra to speed up the healing process, feel free to contact us or visit The Chiropractic Health Centre for a check up.