Spring Outside for Your Health
So spring is officially here, the grass is green, the trees are blooming and plants and flowers are beginning to spring up. This is my FAVORITE time of year! All the newness that spring stands for is exciting! Around here, we have cows calving, frogs singing and birds chirping in the wee hours of the morning. As a morning person, I love that the sun is coming up earlier each day bringing with it the warmth and sunshine that only continues to become longer for the next few months. Did I mention I LOVE this time of year?!
So, the warmer weather and longer days give us more opportunities to get outside and be active. I cannot express how important it is for our bodies to be active, particularly outdoors. Most of us look at exercise as a means to lose weight, thus we dread it. But I am here to tell you there are so many more important reasons to get moving. For starters, exercise:
Balances your hormones
Provides stress relief
Stabilizes blood sugar
Creates stamina and endurance that we need in order to survive in a chaos-filled world
Reduces chronic pain better than any medication on the market
The list goes on and on!
This doesn’t mean you have to work out for hours every day! It means taking about 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week doing some sort of moderate aerobic activity (see note below for details), preferably outside. Plus, you can spend at least 2 days a week doing strength training activities, such as weight lifting, yoga, pilates, etc.
Rather than exercising as a means to lose weight, trying to coax your body into a certain shape or size, change your perspective. Exercise is a means to become healthy. Its benefits will clear your body of waste and leave you with a more relaxed, elevated mood to energize you through the day.
In addition to getting your typical moderate exercise, it is beneficial to get outside. Dig in the dirt, play with your pets or kids, or just take a walk in nature to appreciate the beauty that it provides! Being in nature reduces stress, improves your mood and sharpens our mental focus. Plus, sunshine provides the best source of Vitamin D that is crucial to our health. Even a 10-minute break outside can have a positive impact!
Spring has sprung—get out and enjoy it! Combine exercise with the great outdoors. Make an effort to be more active throughout your day, and watch your physical, spiritual and emotional health all soar to new levels!
NOTE: Moderate physical activity is defined as 50-70% of your maximum heart rate. Click here to determine your target heart rate.
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Angie McCormick is a Physical Therapist and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist for Balanced Fitness and Health in Hiawatha, Iowa. Her professional expertise and personal experience with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) enrich her work helping clients with the exercise, nutrition and life skills required to conquer pain.