Getting outside to enjoy spring weather

(Photo courtesy of the Alabama Extension Office) 

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.—Spring is here once again. That means getting the family together and spending time outdoors. However, sometimes we need a boost to get off the couch and into the sunshine. 

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, children ages 6 through 17 need 60 minutes or more of physical activity a day. Adults need at least 30 minutes of physical activity. 

Get the Family Involved  

One way to get moving while enjoying the beautiful Alabama spring weather 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 do a few laps, walking or jogging. 
  • 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. 

Make It Easy  

Exercising for 30 minutes a day as an adult doesn’t mean shelling out money each month for a gym membership or altering much of an everyday schedule. There are several easy ways to make exercise fun and easy while taking advantage of the wonderful spring weather. 

  • 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 a good 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 an old-school push mower. Just be sure to hydrate with plenty of water. 

Better than Nothing 

Any physical activity that fits into the schedule is better than none. The best exercises are the ones you are motivated to do. Get into a routine starting with small bouts of physical activity every day. Start slow, building confidence in your ability to be physically active. You will soon be pleasantly surprised by the health benefits and the way you feel!