Believe it or not, Spring is almost here and the weather here in New England fluctuates almost daily! In fact, as I write this, we are at the beginning of a blizzard! But, I digress.
If you have been hibernating all Winter, hang in there the warmer weather is coming. Now is a good time to get physically ready for outdoor activity.
Start a workout program or join an exercise class. Get your body ready for outside activity. The last thing you want to do is go 100% doing yard work, golfing, running, biking, or anything where you like to push yourself without being physically prepared. Injuries happen and they can take time to heal. When I was teaching skiing years ago, folks would say they want to ski to get in shape. No. You must be in shape to ski! The same holds true for other activities if you try to do them with high intensity.
Each season offers opportunities to get outside and move. Outdoor recreational activity is one of the healthiest ways to improve your fitness, change your body composition, sleep better at night, and just plain feel good while having fun. Fresh air and sunshine can feel like they have medicinal benefits!
If you have been working out all Winter, why not use your fitness level to do something else fun outside! If you have not been working out, either start slow or get into a program to get ready now!
Here are some ideas to get outside and have fun this Spring.
- Walking – Go for a walk in a park outside. Try to get away from the noise of vehicles or too many people. Interval walking – walking fast then moderate for time – offers tremendous physical benefits.
Don’t forget: Start slow if you have not been active. Have a good pair of walking sneakers, light stretches before and after, and for Heaven’s sake put away those headphones and listen to the birds and the bugs!
- Better yet – Nordic Walking – This is walking with ski poles or walking sticks typically on a trail with terrain that is somewhat challenging such as a hilly trail or small mountain.
Don’t forget: Be aware of your surroundings and the inconsistencies of the terrain. The poles help you keep your balance.
- Running – Road running is harder on the joints but does not have as many obstacles. Trail running, especially in the woods, has many obstacles but is exciting!
Don’t forget: Good shoes are critical to prevent injury. Like walking, start slow, hydrate, stretch, and pay attention – and – for Heaven’s sake get rid of those headphones!
- Work in the yard – you can turn this and housework into a workout! Use different movements when raking or digging (i.e. work both sides of your body). Squat instead of bending over at the waste.
Don’t forget: You might get sore from a day in the yard working! Hydrate, stretch, remember you are using muscles that you may not have used all Winter!
- Hiking – Find a small mountain, hill trail, or quiet beach and hike it with a friend, family member, or by yourself. Take in the scenery, sunshine, sounds, and fresh air. You will be amazed at how well you sleep at night!
Don’t forget: Prepare yourself with good hiking shoes/boots in on a mountain, some kind of bug repellent, sunscreen if you use it, and beware that coming down the hill or mountain is usually tougher than going up!
- Bicycling – Road or trail riding – Most of us did rode bicycles when we were kids. Rent a bike to see if you would like it again. Find a quiet country road with little traffic and go for a ride.
Don’t forget: Pay attention to traffic if you are on a busy road and remember bicycles follow the rules of the road.
- Geocaching – This will get you outdoors. It is like a treasure hunt that you can do on your own time and where you want. Go find stuff!
Don’t forget: Visit here to see more information on Geocaching. Remember there is etiquette! Don’t be a “Muggle”!
- Competition – If you want to be competitive, try running a race, golfing, join a softball league, play tennis or volleyball. There are many social sports clubs where you can find one. Check out Meetup.com to search for an activity near you!
Don’t forget: There are many different levels of competition from novice to experienced. Look for a competition that fits your needs.