The weather the last couple of weeks has been absolutely beautiful, as we’ve experienced the spring warmth here in North Carolina. These gorgeous days have generated spring fever increasing our desire to spend time outside in God’s creation.
Getting Out of Our Rut
We spent a lot of time sitting through the winter, working on books and other projects so as many people do in January, we made a push to get back to exercising. We need to look good in those summer clothes!The exercise usually takes place in the living room or in the nearest gym working out with weights or videos or big machines. It becomes a habit to just run to the gym and workout for an hour.
Last weekend Paul and I realized we were stuck in a rut. We started out by thinking about going to the gym. But instead we decided to go for a walk/run outside. Saturday was perfect! The air was cool but not cold, the air was nice and clear, with the bright sun and just a light breeze. We started out in different directions until I saw a sign for an Art Fair. Needless to say, Paul had to adjust his run so we could see all of the activities. That’s another story.
We had heard about a park that is just a few miles from our house that we tried out on Sunday. They have a nice one and a half mile loop through the woods that was quiet and picturesque near the lake. We went around the loop twice and didn’t want to stop, but since it was Mother’s Day we needed to. We’ll definitely go back to run at this park.
I haven’t always been a runner and started enjoying it unintentionally after I turned 50. Now Paul and I tend to run separately in the beginning of the summer because he runs faster than I do but by the end of the summer we can run together. So, we made a concerted effort to think outside of the gym and we benefited from fresh air, sunshine as well as exercise (and an outdoor Art Fair!).
Not everyone enjoys running. Actually, I start by power walking and work my way into the run. Just a brisk walk will still give you the stress release as well as the cardio benefits. Consider using walking sticks while you are walking. It helps to engage the upper body while significantly increasing the results.
What else can you do to get your exercise while still being outside?
Gardening is an awesome way to burn calories. When you do this kind of labor, you carry out a wide variety of movements that most definitely burns calories, and may even tone your muscles. Depending on what kind of projects you are tackling in your yard, you could be squatting, lifting, digging or covering a fair amount of distance with your many steps. It’s not uncommon to burn up to 300-400 calories in just one hour of gardening!
Other activities that Paul and I do to enjoy the outdoors but also stay fit include cutting down trees in our yard and stacking them for firewood. Talk about a great cardio experience! We prefer to do this in the autumn though when the temperatures are lower since we truly can work up a sweat.
We also enjoy playing tennis. We may never actually play a real game, but it takes some good effort to keep the ball going from one end of the court to the next. The running and swinging can get someone in shape pretty quickly.
Another activity that we intend to start this summer is bicycle riding. I was an avid bicycle rider all the way through college since that was my only mode of transportation. Since I seem to have a bit more testosterone than most women, I tend to grow strong muscular legs when I use them either through biking, squats, or any other leg workout. But, it’s a great way to cover a lot of ground quickly while getting an outdoor workout.
We love the water and have expressed an interest in learning how to paddleboard. We’ve also talked about doing some canoeing or kayaking. It may not be a full body workout, but the few time we have done it together we could certainly say we felt it in our arms and chest. What a wonderful way to enjoy sunshine, fresh air, exercise all wrapped up in great scenery!
We are all creatures of habit and sometimes it is best to evaluate where we are and what we’ve been doing. As you continue your daily exercise, why don’t you consider taking it outside when the weather warms up in your neighborhood?
The seasons of spring and summer aren’t usually very long in many parts of this country. We need to take advantage of the beautiful days and fresh air and sunshine while they are available. God created us for being outside. There were never any castles in the Garden of Eden. Those were man-made.
Do you change your workout/exercise routine during the warmer months?
What do you do?