No, really, take a hike! Or go for a walk or head out on your bike because, for our fifth and final week of the CHFAs Revive in Five, were headed outside!
For week 5 of the Canadian Health Food Association’s Revive in Five challenge, we’re combining the goals of the previous four weeks—focusing our minds, strengthening our bones and muscles, improving our heart health, and toning our midsections—to create a goal that is, arguably, the most enjoyable yet. We’re “challenged” to stay healthy and get outdoors.
And I’ll admit—I cheated.
I started this week early by hitting up the trails of a local mountain this weekend. In my defence, though, how could I not? The trails were dry, the weather was warm, and I had a whole extra day to suffer from exercise-induced aches and pains (if needed).
If you’re not one for toiling on the side of a mountain, or if you don’t have any mountains within driving distance, that’s okay. Pull out the bike and go for a ride, or pull on the shoes and go for a jog or a walk.
Social butterflies can gather up a group for a game of soccer at the local park, or a maybe a game of volleyball at a nearby lake or shoreline. A few rounds of doubles tennis can be a great way to wind down the day or get ready for the weekend. Or, for those would rather try something less intense, why not sign up for an outdoor tai chi class?
The benefits of outdoor activity are well documented. Studies have found that outdoor activity is better than indoor exercise for improving mood, increasing energy, and decreasing stress. And, with the possible added benefits of bringing along a friend or family member, a good day outside may very well leave you smiling all night!
Of course, all that time outside means lots of exposure to the sun. While the proper application of natural sunscreen is vital, you can still give your skin a boost to its own natural UV defences as an extra precaution. Leafy green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce, are high in pigments known as carotenoids. These carotenoids may help to protect our skin and eyes from harsh UV radiation.
This final week is also a great time to test out new organic foods. After all, when’s the last time you had a handful of sacha inchi seeds, or mixed some spirulina or chlorella into a smoothie?
For those who want to get their skin beach-ready, taking supplements of a carotenoid called lutein may be a big help. This particular carotenoid is one of two that helps protect our eyes by filtering out UV light before it reaches out retinas.4 Lutein, in the correct doses, may help to protect our skin from UV rays as well.
Meanwhile, coconut oil, when applied to the skin, works as wonderfully as a moisturizer.
Of course, always remember to speak with your health care practitioner before adding any supplements to your diet.