It’s another gorgeous day here on Long Island, and I’m about to take a stroll with my doggie, after which I will be going for a run. I keep forgetting to dress lighter when I leave in the morning during this time of year! This morning, I was fine in a sweater and sweatpants. By this afternoon, not so much…
Anyhow, today’s message is about using the great outdoors as a resource for physical activity. I’d mentioned in my previous message to you that due to the ‘gym culture’ that’s been instilled in our society since the 1980s, we look at exercise as a chore that must be performed indoors — And, most ‘appropriately,’ at a gym.
Not only is this viewpoint shortsighted, but it’s NOT conducive to making exercise a regular part of your lifestyle!
Let’s face it, going to a gym isn’t exactly appealing. It’s often crowded, dirty and is a two hour endeavor between commuting, exercising, showering and changing afterwards.
Throw a beautiful sunny day on top of that, and the chances of you going to a gym on a day like today are close to zero. The same holds true with at-home workouts, as well. If it’s nice out, you’re going to be drawn to go outside rather than working out in your living room and letting the day pass you by.
So, use the outdoors to your advantage! If you’re short on time, take your dumbbells, yoga mat and foam roller, and head outside to perform today’s workout. A change of scenery can reinvigorate you and keep you motivated!
If you have more time, go for a long walk, or head over to your local nature preserve for a hike. Go for a run. Organize a pickup basketball game. The possibilities are endless!
While our president is seeking to ‘Make American Great Again,’ I think we should seek to ‘Make Exercise Fun Again!’ Think about when you were a kid, and your parents let you play in the backyard until dinner. Hide-and-seek. Wiffle ball. Tag. Backyard football. We enjoyed playing with our siblings and our friends, and relished being outside!
As we’ve grown older and technology has advanced (this is for those of us 25-and-up), the couch potato lifestyle began to develop. Days playing outside were trumped by days sitting on the living room couch watching television shows and movies. I fell into this sedentary behavior early on in my life, and I didn’t truly appreciate how cathartic playing outside could be until I was in my teens and began my active lifestyle.
Now, whenever I can, I make sure I take some time to appreciate beautiful weather when it happens! And you should too :-)
Studies show that our ancestors used play as a means of de-stressing. While we know exercise releases dopamine (the ‘pleasure’ hormone) and lowers cortisol (the ‘stress’ hormone) levels in our bodies, adding some fun back into our lives can go a long way towards making exercise a regular part of our lifestyles.
Like I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t always have to be so structured! If you have kids or grandkids, just taking 30–60 minutes and playing with them outside can be sufficient activity for the day. If you’ve recently played with hyper young children, I’m sure you can relate!
Enjoy your life. Enjoy the weather. Use it to your advantage. You’ll be glad you did! :-)
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