Healthy life in the CBD

By Sue Saunders - Vice President

How do people keep healthy and fit when they reside in Melbourne’s CBD or near surrounds?

You might think that people who live in the suburbs or out in the country with its wide-open spaces and fresh air would surely be a fitter, healthier population than people living in the small spaces of high-rise apartments.

Maybe that perception is not quite right. Let us consider what makes for a healthy, fit individual. It is not just one thing. First, individuals have to want to be healthy. Then they need to know that health is a combination of mind and body. The body needs aerobic fitness for heart and vascular system, muscle strength and flexibility. None of those aims can be achieved without good wholesome natural food. The mind is healthy when the individual feels happiness, is challenged, has good relationships and feels as though life has meaning.

The city caters admirably for all these ingredients that make for a happy, healthy individual provided that individual is motivated to find the means. Many city people do exactly that.

Let us look in more detail. Aerobic fitness – walking, running, bike riding, tennis, swimming, for example. City people walk a lot. It is the best way to get around. We have wonderful parks nearby for runners to enjoy. Tennis clubs nearby and safe bike tracks everywhere. 

Swimming. Who would think that many CBD residents regularly swim for both muscle tone and aerobic fitness? There are pools everywhere. The City Baths has a full-sized pool and smaller ones as part of its comprehensive gym. Quite a few gyms and clubs have pools for fitness and learn-to-swim sessions. And there are pools included as part of common facilities in many modern high-rise buildings.

Muscle strength is important. Residents 3000’s sponsor Kieser on the corner of King and Collins streets, specialises in building muscle strength, especially for people who may have particular issues. Kieser combine specialised physiotherapy and exercise physiology to achieve impressive results. After treatment, many people continue with their programmes to maintain and improve on what they have learned. The equipment offered at the Kieser facility is specially designed to scientifically measure each individual’s progress towards their fitness goals. 

Flexibility together with stress relief can be sought through many yoga, tai chi, pilates studios and gyms. The CBD also has a fully equipped rock-climbing facility. You need to be flexible and strong to tackle that sport.

Then there is eating healthy food. The CBD has probably the best market in Australia at the Queen Victoria Market. Food is not only fresh and of top quality, but the market has the very best of the delicacies that you would expect to find in a sophisticated urban environment. In addition, there are Melbourne’s famous, high-class restaurants that compete to be the best, catering for many different cuisines. For the health-conscious person, there are places to buy inexpensive, fresh, simple meals at almost any time of day that suits the busy, crazy lifestyles that abound in city life.

Lastly and probably the most important of all, is how can the city nurture the mind? This question has an easy answer. Melbourne is the city of culture, arts, events, shopping, clubs, music, activities, festivals … the list is endless. There is no shortage of people interaction opportunities that are so necessary for mental health. Even in the time of COVID, Residents 3000 has kept up monthly events via Zoom. The feedback from attendees is that they still enjoyed the interactions and participation despite being delivered in an unusual mode.

The take-away from this discussion, is that maintaining a healthy life starts with the individual’s conscious decision to address all the factors that are needed to be happy and healthy. If that is your desire, then the city offers all that you need. Melbourne, marvellous Melbourne is still here for you. Go out, take a walk, drink in the ambiance and enjoy! •

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