AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.— Sunshine, warm temperatures and blooming flowers sound like a terrific recipe for spending time outdoors and engaging in physical activity.
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, children ages 6 through 17 need 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. Adults need at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily. Coming out of a cold winter means more motivation may be needed to get off the couch. Being more active can help people think, feel and sleep better and perform daily tasks easier.
“Any physical activity that fits into the schedule is better than none,” said Erin Reznicek, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System family and consumer sciences specialist. “The best exercises are the ones you are motivated to do.”
Get the Family Involved
One way to get moving while enjoying the beautiful Alabama sunshine is to get the whole family outside and involved in physical activity.
- Go to a nearby park. If your home doesn’t have a large yard, try finding a nearby park with an open field and playground equipment. Start a game of tag or go on a nature walk through the park.
- Play Simon Says. This is a fun way to get everybody moving. Simon can ask everyone to touch their toes, stretch their arms up high, do arm circles or perform jumping jacks.
- If the nearby park has a track, encourage the children to ride their bikes while the adults walk or jog a few laps.
- If there is playground equipment, the children can have their own fun. Meanwhile, adults can build arm muscles by swinging from monkey bars or doing a few tricep dips on a park bench.
Keep It Simple
Exercising for 30 minutes each day as an adult doesn’t have to be expensive. Individual do not have to sign up for a gym memberships, or alter everyday activities. There are so many simple ways to enjoy exercise. Even better are those you can do while soaking in the sunshine.
- Find a friend and take a walk. This is a great way to catch up with nearby friends and get some fresh air at the same time.
- Wash the car. This could be an excellent time to break out the hose and make the family car sparkle in the sun. Not only would this save a few bucks by avoiding a car wash, but washing the car can be a nice workout as well.
- Mow the lawn with a push mower. Riding lawn mowers are nice for large yards, but it doesn’t provide the same physical workout as pushing around a push mower. Just be sure to hydrate with plenty of water.
For those starting a new exercise plan, Reznicek’s best advice is to get moving.
“Get into a routine starting with small bouts of physical activity every day,” she said. “Start slow, building confidence in your ability to be physically active. Try penciling in physical activity breaks to your daily calendar. Scheduling exercise may help you stay on track. You will soon be pleasantly surprised by the health benefits and the way you feel!”