Fresh Air, Fresh Start
Fresh Start = Fresh Air
Let's do the math. There are 1440 minutes in a day. Experts say we only need to exercise for 30 of those minutes. So why is it so hard to get motivated?
For those of us who ditched our New Year's Resolution to exercise more, spring offers a perfect opportunity to start fresh. Warmer weather, more daylight, and the new scenery spring brings could be just what the doctor ordered to jump start our desire to get active.
Here's the low down on some benefits of outdoor exercise:
1) That sure went by fast! Being active outdoors can be distracting. Often times you can forget that you are exercising if you are enjoying nature's scenery
2) Say goodbye to SAD – Being outside can help put you in better spirits, especially if you had a gloomy winter. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is more common than you think, but usually goes away with the arrival of warmer months. 3) We've heard these before – While you have probably read about these benefits in the past, they still hold true. Physical activity can:
- Lower your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
- Reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke.
- Relieve stress.
- Strengthen your heart, muscles, and bones.
- Help insulin work better.
- Help with losing, and keeping off, weight.
- Keep your joints flexible.
You know the benefits, but how do you get started? Remember, it is only 30 minutes a few days a week. You don't even have to do all 30 minutes at the same time! Here are some ideas:
- Walking – The cheapest and simplest way to exercise is putting one foot in front of the other. All you need is a pair of sturdy, well-fitted shoes.
- Gardening – Pull some weeds or plant some flowers.
- Hiking – You don't need to climb Mount Everest to enjoy the benefit of walking in the woods. Don't forget to bring a snack and wear layers.
- Frisbee – Who knew throwing around a disk could be so much fun (and so cheap!)?
- Swimming – You don't need to do the 100-meter butterfly to enjoy the benefits of swimming. Even treading water or kicking your feet along the side of the pool will give you a good workout.
- Boating – Canoeing or kayaking in your community or on your next vacation is a great way to see the sights from another angle.
- Playing –Take your kids or grandkids to the park. Climb on the ladders or swing across the monkey bars with them. Play tag or hide-and-seek.
Now that you are armed with ideas for exercise, here are some other things to keep in mind:
- Drink up – Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your activity.
- Shoe fetish – It's all about comfortable, properly sized shoes. If you are unsure of what type of shoe you should use, talk to your health care team.
- Keep an eye out – If you take insulin or a medication that can cause hypoglycemia, check your blood glucose levels before and after your activity, and periodically during exercise if it will last longer than an hour.
- Supply and demand – If you are exercising for more than 30 minutes, supply yourself with a snack to keep blood glucose levels in check.
- Chance of sun 100% – Apply SPF 30 sunscreen at least 30 minutes before exercising outdoors – and reapply often. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block the sun's UV rays.
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