Jay and I have been together almost 19 years. We are both from Port Elizabeth but were living in Cape Town when we met. Our desire to explore was always in us but we were always were limited by our budget. We both are first generation campers, with our first outdoor camping experience being together many years ago with nothing more than a small tent and basic items seen below 😊
Our fondest memories are of our road trips and camping. We have had all kinds of crazy experiences, from -2 deg to 50 deg in the shade with many of our toughest experiences being part of our best memories.
Our journey started a while ago, years ago, seeing the effect of our changing world on our children. It was profoundly accelerated 2 years ago in Namibia. We rolled our car in the rural desert, miraculously we were untouched and had help arrive in 5 minutes, thanks to humanity not being lost and the wonderful people of Helmeringhausen. We were in shock, with our children being super resilient and finding it like a rollercoaster (“our car flew like in Harry Potter!” they said, the audiobook we were listening to 😊).
Jay and I had a deeper journey, a reflection which made us understand more deeply our place in the world and where our focus should be – in living. As if part of a larger plan, 2 months later the most wonderful friends sold us their camping trailer and we were off! Since then many of you know that we go away every month, local and distant. I am a little OCD in planning every detail and our Namibia experience just heightened it. We go to most SANParks, local camping spots and wilder places as we develop the courage. It is a lifestyle – one which I would like to make part of InsideOut in sharing our experiences and many years of tips, recommendations, and advice on where to begin.
Many people are nervous and unsure on where to start. In this blog I would like to share some of our tips and tricks as pertaining to our Kruger trip in December. Covid has hopefully stimulated a bigger interest in local destinations. It does not need to be expensive, there is accommodation to suit any budget. I also recommend not being too spontaneous, that is great at times, but half the pleasure is in the planning/researching and anticipation – knowing what’s coming does so much to build excitement and improve mood. No matter what you choose or where you go, add some fresh air and adventure to your life.
Education Focus: Balance
“an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady” and “a situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions”
So in continuation of this month’s theme of balance, I wanted to share my philosophy on obtaining physical balance as well. There are many conditions which can affect balance and proprioception, most the time we can reteach it and improve it. One of my only Covid symptoms was a strange vertigo – which I have never had or could relate to – now I know how it feels. There are many medical/systemic causes as well as those caused by lower limb injury – affecting the neural connections and brain/peripheral function. If you are having frequent episodes of poor balance/vertigo/light-headedness I strongly suggest you see your GP and find the cause. If you are recovering from an injury and need proprioceptive training, balance exercises are easily accessible online or if unsure, see your Physio. This is not the kind of balance I want to talk about today.
I want to share some frequent teaching moments I have with clients. The tug of war in our bodies. Our body will always follow the path of least resistance, so subconsciously it will always take the easy way out. When we are children, our recovery rate and metabolic rate is at an all time high but over time this is substantially reduced and our body adapts by prioritising what is most necessary and neglects what is not used – the principle of if you don’t use it you will lose it very much applies.
So, as an example, if you spend all day at a desk with a few short breaks, in and out of cars, and go to bed in a foetal position. This sounds pretty common right? Well it is. Now think about the fact that 90% of your wakeful time was spent flexed in sitting, knees bent, usually slumped back and protruding neck. It is only reasonable to assume that over time this will cause long term changes – tight hamstrings, weak glutes and spinal muscles, stiff joints to name a few. That may not necessarily cause a problem, but as soon as you try doing something your body finds unusual you can expect a reaction, or you will develop an overuse strain for easily.
I bring this up to ask you to think about what you do every day, your positions, and activities. Once you do this think about what you need to do to balance out your body. To continue my example of someone flexed and sitting all day, I would suggest you spend time reading on your tummy on the bed for 30 minutes a day (extension), sitting on the floor with your kids and straighten your knees to functionally mobilise your stiffer hamstrings to name two examples. It may be uncomfortable in the beginning, but it will get easier and prevent future pain or injuries.