It’s that time of year when everyone I know is chomping at the bit to get outside and enjoy the spring weather. The snow is melting and the sunshine is warm against the skin, it’s a nice treat after a long, cold winter (and this one has been a dozy). With the nicer weather, activity levels increase. You see more people out running, riding bikes, walking dogs, etc and recently I’ve been contemplating exercising and how people tend to approach it.
When we think of exercise, we tend to picture intense work-outs, or long, hard runs that are certainly effective, but sometimes not incredibly enjoyable. Often people assume it’s the only way to stay in shape. But when the better weather comes more opportunities arise for activity and exercise without the thought of having to “work-out”. Recently I jotted down a few activities that I thought were good ways for people to get out and be active without having to feel like you’re “working out”.
Bike/walk for everyday activities
If you only live a few blocks or a mile from work or the grocery store, try walking or biking to get there. It can take a little more time than driving but your body will tell you it’s worth it. It is also an opportunity to enjoy a nice sunny day in our often hectic lives! Another idea is to pick a destination and go there. My wife and I like to pick a local craft brewery and bike the distance to visit. If it’s one mile or 40, the reward is usually worth it.
Go for a hike!
Hiking is one of the easiest ways to get outside and enjoy nature. I like to hike at local county and state parks and scenic trails. If you have a national park or trails system nearby, even better. They are wonderful resources to take advantage of and they are cheaper than a fitness gym membership. Hiking doesn’t always have to be at a park. I have friends that will go on a hike around their neighborhood or across town to visit a friend or run an errand. It’s just about getting out and moving!
Join a sports league
Most cities or towns have the option to join an inter-mural or tavern sports league. Ideas range from Ultimate Frisbee to softball, volleyball and even kickball. I currently play on a soccer league, and the exercise I get from all the running is great and way more fun than going on a jog. Check your local news source for a community calendar for ideas.
Hit the water!
If you have a good water source nearby like a river or lake, use it! Some of the best exercise can be had playing in water. Swimming is the obvious one, but going paddling in a canoe or kayak can be a great upper body work out, and trust me after a long day on the water, your body will feel it!
Listen to the Music
A good up-beat music show can be very energetic and extremely fun, so get on the dance floor and enjoy yourself! If you don’t like going out, have friends over, crank the stereo and have a dance party.
You may be laughing but go get one and you will feel like a kid again and laughter burns a ton of calories 😉
Plant a garden
If you have the space, working on a food or flower garden can be very good exercise, and a great way to spend time outdoors. Kale or spinach are easy to grow and can be put in the garden right after frost out and they taste great in a Mike’s Mix smoothie.
The list could go on and on, but I think you get the point. Our bodies are the healthiest when we are active and when we use them frequently. You don’t need to sign up for the next aerobics class at the local gym to feel great, just get moving! Your body and mind will thank you for it. Enjoy!