Spring is officially here and we have started to experience those glimmers of sunshine that lift our spirits, warm our bodies and brighten our day.

With staggering beauty across our rugged countryside, rich forests and mystical beaches, there is little wonder New Zealand was just recently voted among the top three most beautiful countries in the world. We are lucky enough to live in a country where mother nature beckons us from right outside our door. We must take the opportunity to escape into our own backyard and enjoy all the benefits time spent in nature can offer. Whether it be strolling along the beach, dancing on a mountain top or taking on one of New Zealand’s heart pumping trails, the time to truly live is now.

At Venerdi HQ, we like to look to the masters of the universe – the longest living populations of the world, the Blue Zones, to learn from some of the ancient principles adopted for vitality and longevity and think about how we can apply them to our NOW. In a nutshell, the Blue Zones say it best with the following mantra that inspires day to day living: “Eat well, stress less, move more and love more”.

The Blue Zones best kept (until now) secrets for happiness, reduced stress and longevity:

  • Daily Movement
  • Meditation and deep breathing
  • Positive life affirmations
  • A sense of purpose
  • Good quality sleep
  • Time in nature
  • Quality time with loved ones

While diet and exercise are often the first things that come to mind when we think about optimal wellbeing, reduced stress can reverse the inflammation that is related to almost every known major disease in the world and could be the missing link to uncovering our best health yet.

In stressful times, chances are that you may already feel a little overwhelmed, time poor and like a new exercise routine is that last thing you have time for at the moment. Doing something wonderful each day to strengthen and nourish your body does not have to be a lengthy process, and the longer we think it has to be in order to have any real benefit, the quicker the idea is going to be thrown into the “too hard” basket. Even five minute a day can be enough to transform your state of mind, your energy levels and your strength!

How do I get started? By starting. Don’t wait another minute, your time is now. Decide how much time you can save up on certain days to get moving and just move. Choose the “move” that makes your sparkle the brightest and keep it simple and fun in order to make it achievable. Moving your body doesn’t have to be all squats and pushups- moving is moving.

  • Take your yoga mat to the backyard, the park or the beach for a sun-drenched workout. Stretch or snooze – because that’s good for stress levels too
  • Go for a walk, maybe around the block, maybe get lost for hours. Dogs, babies, partners, best friends – they can come too! Connections and time with loved ones can play an equally important role in relieving stress.
  • Go hiking – New Zealand is one of the worlds most exciting nature playgrounds – go play!
  • Go to the local park and swing on the swings – you can do this with or without kids – you’re never to old to play!
  • Have a family day out at the beach – kick a ball, do some cartwheels and chase some waves
  • Take your best friend to a dance class and laugh at each others sweet moves!
  • Find a gym which uplifts and inspires you
  • Enlist the help of a great fitness coach who can teach you how to move effectively, with good technique and who helps you to make exercise fun
  • Get your hands dirty and spend a sunshine filled Spring day planting flowers in your garden
  • Turn the music up at home and dance around like no one is watching – and if they are, tell them to join you!

My personal favourites when it comes to moving the body for stress relief includes Pilates and anything you can do by the beach.

Why Pilates? Pilates is not only famous for improving posture, joint mobility and core stability, but the exercises encourage the body and breath to flow as ones. This builds our resilience to stress whilst improving our musculoskeletal, lymphatic and respiratory system.

And the sea? Time spent by the ocean with a combination of sun, sea and sand has proven to help restore our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. This is good news as we enter into spring and the promise of a glorious New Zealand summer ahead.

How we prefer to move and deal with stress is unique to each of us and half the fun is discovering what makes your feel your very best. it is crucial to your health, wellbeing and happiness to create those “me” moments that allow you to breathe a little deeper, think a little clearer and move in a way that makes your heart, your body and your mind come alive completely.

Niki Loe
Personal Trainer – Pilates Trainer – Nutrition Coach