9 Outdoor Activities to Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle This Spring
As the snow melts and temperatures start to rise, there’s no better time to focus on your health while enjoying the warmer weather outdoors. From neighborhood walks around blossoming trees to weekend outings with friends and family, read on for several ways to build a healthier lifestyle with outdoor activities this spring.
Play in the Park
If the freshly green grass and sound of chirping birds aren’t enough to entice you to spend more time at your local park, grab a few loved ones and make a day out of it. Head to your garage and dig up your trusty softball bats, picnic baskets, weatherproof blankets, roller skates, soccer balls or other sports equipment and head to the nearest park on a clear sunny day.
Parks can bring out your inner playful side and get your heart rate pumping at the same time as you try to score as many goals as you can or make your inner nine-year-old proud as you attempt a cartwheel or handstand.
Ride Your Bike
Dust off the bike that’s been sitting in your garage all winter and pump up the tires for a ride around the neighborhood. Don’t have a set of wheels of your own? Look for local bike shares that allow you to rent a bike for an afternoon, or an entire day, and cycle around to explore your town in a new way–while burning extra calories while you’re at it.
Head for a Hike
Hiking is a great way to get your heart pumping while enjoying the great outdoors. Hikes in nature are not only excellent ways to exercise your muscles and strengthen your bones and joints, but they’re also great for your mood. Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, which can help to melt away any seasonal mental health issues you may have experienced during the colder months of the year.
Start a Garden
Gardening is both a rewarding pastime and a valuable form of exercise, especially when more intensive outdoor chores are involved, such as digging, raking, mowing, planting or weeding. Maximize the potential for physical activity by hauling dirt by hand, clearing yard waste and pulling weeds with proper form and mowing your lawn with a hand mower instead of a rideable one.
Run or Jog
While running isn’t for everyone, it’s a great way to get aerobic exercise and boost your heart health. Running outside provides unique challenges for your system as opposed to running on an indoor track or treadmill, and every turn, hill and obstacle you encounter outside engages your muscles while your body benefits from the fresh air and sunshine exposure at the same time.
Enjoy Evening Walks
Kiss nightly chills goodbye and start a habit of heading outdoors for a walk after dinner to enjoy quality time with loved ones and the warmer temperatures of springtime during golden hour.
Walks are an excellent way to get extra exercise into your day without breaking a significant sweat, and walking after supper time can even help your body to digest food and produce mood-boosting endorphins to help you wind down after a long day.
Start Spring Cleaning
Is your basement in need of a major refresh? Has your storage room or garage accumulated extra stuff over the winter? Make a list of any major chores you need to accomplish this spring, including major scrubbing, sweeping, organizing, rearranging or purging tasks that require more manpower than typical cleaning jobs. Then, open your windows to bring in some fresh, spring air and get to work with all the heavy lifting and domestic shifting you can manage as you cross all the big chores off your spring cleaning to-do list.
Though most pools don’t open until it’s closer to summer, spring swimming is a great way to keep up your fitness and keep your heart healthy. Head to a local swimming hole, weather permitting, or look for an indoor pool as you wait for outdoor recreation centers to open in late spring. Swimming is an excellent, low-impact exercise, and getting in a bathing suit regularly will ready your brain and body for the warmer months filled with pool parties and lake days.
Though exercise is necessary for a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle, you don’t have to move a muscle to boost your health when spending time outside. Spending time in the fresh air, soaking up vitamin D from the sun and immersing yourself in social situations, green foliage or fun, novel activities all benefit your system in various ways. A healthy lifestyle includes taking time for activities that support all aspects of your wellbeing.
Time spent outdoors, especially in playful activities or with loved ones, promotes health and wellbeing by breaking up a stagnant routine and exposing your system to positive, healthy experiences. The more time you spend outside, the better and healthier you’re likely to feel, both physically and mentally.