The sun has come out in Seattle, so many (or all!) of us are headed outside. How will you spend your free time when the sun decides to shine where you live? A good way to make sure you don’t miss a beat of the good weather is to consider adopting a new activity you’d like to try or by giving your usual exercise routine a slight makeover. Whether it’s hiking a new trail or trying out a new activity, make the spring and summer weather count by getting a little vitamin D and fresh air!
Everyone knows that being outside is good for your health, but did you know that exercising outdoors gives you an extra calorie burn, not to mention engaging your brain in a bit more stimulation? It’s true! You gain a lot more from exercising outside than just feeling the fresh air on your face as you hike to the top of your local mountain. So ditch your computer for a bit of walking meditation and reap the feel-good benefits!
What will be on your to-do list of outside activities this season? Here are a few of my favorites to get some brainstorming started:
1. Nothing says summer like a long bike ride. You don’t have to rack up miles to get the benefit of a good ride. Find some new hills for a challenge or just cruise along at a comfortable speed, taking time to notice nature as you go by. You could even give yourself a destination like a favorite coffee shop!
2. Explore new hikes in your area. Whether you feel like heading out for a day-long trek or just a short jaunt, check out a website or pick up a book on trails to help you decide the day’s plan. A good website for Washington is http://www.wta.org/
3. Take up a new sport like stand-up paddle-boarding. This activity has taken Seattle by storm and is a really fun way to enjoy the sun and water without getting wet if you don’t want to.
4. If you’ve gotten in the habit of walking or jogging the same route every time you head out to sweat, find a new path or just jazz up your routine with a few lunges or squats along the way. Changing your normal routine will give you an added calorie burn and a mental spark by taking in new sights. Maybe you live nearby or are willing to drive to one of these sweet spots in the greater Seattle area: http://www.irunfar.com/2012/08/trail-running-in-seattle.html
5. Take the workout outside. Trading the gym or the stationary machine for the backyard can be just the spice your routine needs. Bodyweight exercises like push-ups, one-leg squats and lunges can easily be done in a park and may give you a bit more room to move. Be creative and have fun! Try a few new exercises and see how good it makes you feel.
It’s just a start, but I hope my list got your creative juices flowing and has spurred you into thinking of the outdoors in a fresh, calorie-burning kind of way! Feel happier and healthier by treating yourself to a new experience outside. It may just become your new favorite way to spend the long summer days!