For me, a healthy body is the result of two important things–diet and exercise. While I exercise on a regular basis year round, I find April, May and June to be my favorite months because it allows me to give the gym a rest and venture outside for my physical activity. The cold weather is behind us and the summertime heat hasn’t yet set in. Quite frankly, it’s really difficult to find an excuse to be a couch potato when it’s so beautiful outside.
I think the physical benefits are pretty obvious to being active outdoors (you’ll burn fat and calories, improve circulation, etc.), but many people don’t realize that it’s also good mentally and emotionally. When heading to one of the many parks near my house, I purposely leave my iPod at home and instead enjoy all the sites, smells and sounds of spring. You’d be surprised at how much it can perk up your mood. Just the other day I took a jog and enjoyed listening to the birds, someone mowing his lawn nearby and the sounds of a baseball game being played on one of the athletic fields. The fruit trees are in bloom, so their blossoms smell heavenly as did the scent of fresh cut grass (okay–my allergies did kick into high gear later that night, but it was worth it!).
I find that activities outside this time of year not only make me feel physically good, but they clear my head. It’s like hitting the reset button when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed with life’s daily challenges. In fact, even though I’m expending the same energy I would at the gym, I don’t feel as physically exhausted when I’m finished exercising. And remember that it doesn’t cost anything–just go outside and walk, run, play with your kids in the yard, ride a bike …the list is endless.
Our site has a great section on physical activity and its role in healthy weight management. It includes a list of activities (many of which you can do outdoors) as well as a look at how many calories are burned per activity. So get outside and get moving–before you know it we’ll be dealing with scorching temps and high humidity!