You don’t have to skydive naked or ski Everest to experience the joys of adventure. It turns out that just moving in nature can make you happier, less stressed and more resilient.
And a new coveted Nordic lifestyle phenomenon called Friluftsliv is tapping into this discovery and taking the world by storm. Friluftsliv (pronounced free-loofts-liv) translated as “free air life”, describes the exhilarating feeling that nature brings to human beings.
A recent review of international research highlights the benefits of friluftsliv and the uplifting effect outdoor activities have on our mental and physical health. Getting active in nature reduces stress, improves thinking and social skills, and make us feel good!
To bring this healthful experience to more Australians, women’s hiking company, Wild Women On Top, has has joined forces with mental health organisation, Beyond Blue, for its national Coastrek event series.
Coastrek is a team trekking challenge held annually along the stunning coastlines of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, to inspire walkers to hike 30km or 60km’s to improve their mental health and raise funds for the mental health of others.
Coastrek PatronJennifer Byrne understands all too well how beneficial friluftsliv can be.
“About a year ago I had just come out of months of surgeries and immobility after a fall saw me suffering multiple fractures and torn ligaments in my left foot. During that time of healing I spent a lot of time isolated from myself trying to navigate my road to recovery, mentally and physically.”
“Now that I’m back on my feet, trekking and taking on outdoor adventures around the world, I really appreciate how much impact getting outdoors and moving around has on your mental health.”
Multiple studies indicate the impact walking in nature can have on psychological wellbeing. Contact with nature has been linked to improved sleep and reduced stress, which are risk factors of mental illness such as depression.
Coastrek Founder and women’s health expert, Di Westaway, says the benefits of being active outdoors are convincingly backed by science but most of us are so busy indoors, we’ve forgotten how good this feels.
“We’ve inspired tens of thousands of women to get moving in nature and there’s no doubt the experience brings them joy and vitality. Once you experience it, you’ll fall in love with it.” Ms Westaway said.
“Coastrek is a chance to get fitter and healthier by deep diving into an epic adventure with friends in gorgeous coastal locations. It lifts your mood and supports the fabulous work of Beyond Blue.”
Dr Robert Grenfell, Director Health and Biosecurity, CSIRO, agrees.
“With one in five of us set to suffer from a mental health issue, there is some urgency to look at promoting mental wellbeing. An easy way to bolster your reserve against the nerves or the blues is a good dose of nature tonic. Research continues to demonstrate the preventive and therapeutic effects of a dose of natural adventure in your life. This could be as simple as a walk in the park, a hike in the hills or better still, a Coastrek.” says Grenfell.
To register your interest and read about some inspiring trekkers, visit coastrek.com.au
COASTREK – WALKING FOR MENTAL HEALTH
- Coastrek is a team trekking challenge proudly supporting Beyond Blue.
- There are four events in the national calendar: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide Coastrek.
- Two epic challenges:
- The super 60km
- The thrilling 30km
- Teams of four Coastrekkers will hike together for up to 18 hours and each team must include at least 50% women, highlighting the fact that women experience mental health conditions at higher rates than men.
- There is a $2000 fundraising target for each team.
- Beyond Blue is one of Australia’s top mental health charities, providing mental health programs and services with a vision that all people in Australia achieve their best possible mental health.
- Coastrek began in 2009 in Sydney with 40 trekkers raising $200. Since then it has motivated nearly 40,000 trekkers to get fit walking with friends while raising nearly $30,000,000 for charity.
- Coastrek Paton is Jennifer Byrne
- Past Coastrek ambassadors include Susie O’Neill, Libby Trickett, Adam Spencer, Juliet Haslam, Brooke Boney and Tracey Spicer.
- Wild Women On Top are event organisers who inspire and empower women to lead adventurous lives they love through shared hiking adventures for good www.wildwomenontop.com
- Find out more about Coastrek at: www.coastrek.com.au
ABOUT BEYOND BLUE
- Beyond Blue’s mission is to create change to protect everyone’s mental health and improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities affected by anxiety, depression, and suicide.
- Women are more likely to experience mental health conditions than men, with one in three experiencing anxiety and one in five experiencing depression.
- Three million Australians are currently experiencing anxiety and/or depression, and eight people will sadly take their own lives every day of around 200 people who will attempt.
- Mental health professionals are available 24/7 on the Beyond Blue Support Service by calling 1300 22 4636, and also via web chat (3pm-midnight) and email. For more information, visit www.beyondblue.org.au/