Make a Plan to Get Outdoors

Posted by: BeneFIT Corporate Wellness
Date: March 31, 2014

Finally! After a particularly harsh winter, the songs of birds become a welcome wake-up call. Warmer temperatures have arrived, and so has the desire to once again embrace the great outdoors. With milder weather and longer days, it is the perfect time to increase activity and re-energize your commitment to leaving behind a sedentary lifestyle.

Opportunities to exercise are everywhere we turn, but the fact remains that 60 percent of Americans do not meet the recommended 150 minutes a week of exercise. As a result, the lack of physical activity contributes to obesity, heart disease, stroke and other chronic health conditions.

Experts suggest that all adults should set a goal of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each day of the week―whether that means 30 minutes at a time or broken into 10-minute intervals three times per day.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare to re-enter the great outdoors and meet daily physical activity recommendations:

Take it slow. Go at your own pace and set realistic goals. For example, it’s great that you want to learn to run, but don’t schedule your first marathon just yet. Think about what you can do and then go from there. If you can already run a mile, then consider training for a 5K. If you haven’t even run around the block yet, remind yourself that everyone starts somewhere. It’s important to start slow and build momentum as you go.

Map out safe trails at home and work. One of the biggest deterrents to getting outdoors is often finding safe areas to walk, bicycle or run, whether you’re at home or in the office. Heavy traffic or lack of sidewalks can make it challenging to simply take a walk during your lunch hour. Instead, talk with your employer about mapping out safe areas for walking, whether your work environment is surrounded by acres of land or located in a high-rise building. And, from home look for safe alternatives (parks, recreation centers, trails, etc.) around your community.

Wear appropriate gear and footwear. It’s not about looking good while you exercise but about feeling good. The right clothes and footwear may not only make your workout enjoyable but, more importantly, can prevent injury. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on clothes, equipment, or footwear, but make sure that you’re using gear that is right for the activity. In addition, be ready to exercise anytime. You never know when the opportunity may arise, so store casual clothes and sneakers in your car or at the office.

Focus on activities you enjoy. If you like the activity you choose to do each day, chances are you will look forward to exercising. Make it a point to find what you enjoy and capitalize on that. Also consider activities that encourage you to team up with others who have similar goals and interests. Friends, family or co-workers can often provide the motivation needed to stay committed to your exercise goals.

Last, for some it’s impossible to spend much time outdoors during the workday. Rather than spend eight or more hours in your seat, experts recommend at least two minutes of standing, stretching or walking for every 20 minutes of sitting. These short bursts of activity can increase blood flow, which in turn, releases hormones that help us manage stress, increase alertness and burn calories.

For more information on how to make a plan to engage in physical activities outdoors, please contact us.

Disclaimer: The information presented is for your general knowledge and does not replace the advice of a physician. All medical inquiries regarding your health should be presented to a physician.

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