Hey Career Adventurers! Welcome to spring in Saskatchewan. It was a long wait, but we did it. To celebrate the warm weather (when was the last time we had great weather during May long weekend?), I'd like to welcome our house Brainiac, Laurie Johnson, Owner of No Limits Fit Life, for another post on health and wellness.
What are some of the easiest ways to be active and enjoy the nice weather?
The easiest way to get out and enjoy the nice weather is to slip on some comfortable clothing and a great pair of running shoes and head out the door for a brisk walk. Sometimes the change of scenery and a breath of fresh air is a great motivator. If you do have small children who are still in a stroller now is the time to take advantage of the great weather and get in some exercise with the additional benefits of the added resistance (from pushing the stroller).
If you have a bicycle tucked in a shed it’s time to dust it off and tune it up. Perhaps you could ride it to work and save yourself parking, clear your mind and enjoy the great mornings (without the wind). It’s a great workout for your lower body and excellent for your heart. Maybe you could take a ride with your kids (my 17-year-old would leave me in the dust), or take a ride around Wascana Park.
Stop thinking of a park or playground as somewhere to rest. It’s a great place to enjoy outdoor physical activity. It has a built-in stairmaster (stair to the slide) and pull-up bar (monkey bars) and even the bench can be used for incline push ups or tricep dips just to name a few. Better yet, start doing what you children are doing. They will have a ball and you will get a great workout, without the work.
If you live in Saskatchewan, then you don’t live far from a lake or a beach, or perhaps you’re more of a pool person. Either way, swimming is a great way to spend some time outdoors and get some physical activity in as well. And, if you can’t swim, don’t worry, do some water walking instead.
There are so many outdoor additional activities. Hiking, horseback riding, outdoor yoga, tennis,beach volleyball and Frisbee are just a few more great ways to spend time outdoors.
What advantages are there to exercising outdoors?
Exercising outdoors is accessible to everyone regardless of the location. It provides a much-needed change of scenery from the rest of the year and its a great option for those people on a budget. More importantly, mother nature provides our bodies with a much needed source of vitamin D. Sunlight also has a lot of mood-lifting benefits due to its ability to stimulate the brain to make serotonin. Sometimes people in the Northern hemisphere suffer from SAD (a form of depression triggered by the change in season). You’re more likely to experience SAD in the winter due to the shorter days and longer nights and the extreme temperatures. Lack of sunlight is also related to PMS symptoms as well as anxiety-related disorders and panic attacks.
Sunlight has so many wonderful benefits, some of which include its ability to strengthen bones and teeth due its creation of vitamin D. Sunlight is beneficial in healing us in a multitude of ways because there are many different spectrums of light in the suns rays and each have unique healing qualities. Sunlight is known to aid in the remission of cancer, kill bacteria and disinfect wounds, relieve psoriasis, acne, eczema and fungal infections and lower cholesterol. It also helps to lower blood pressure, and penetrates deep into your skin to cleanse your blood and blood vessels, increase oxygen content to human blood and rebuild and strengthen the immune system. It even increases growth and height of children (please send your children outdoors to play). These are just some of its benefits.
What precautions do you need to take when exercising outdoors during warm weather?
The most important thing to do when exercising in the heat is to pre-hydrate and stay hydrated. Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day but if you are exercising you should be drinking additional water while you are exercising and immediately after exercising. If you are exercising in the heat for extended periods of time it would be wise to add an electrolyte to your regime. Rather then the typical sports drink which is filled with additional sugar and also has very little electrolytes, I would recommend either eDISCS or Nuun Electrolyte Tablets, which you can find in Regina at either Track and Trail/ Sunshine and Ski or The Running Room.
In addition to hydration, wearing a hat can keep the direct sun off of your head. If you are planning to be in the sun for a longer time, especially if you are out in the sun between 11 am and 2 pm, you should apply sunscreen. While the sun is beneficial for us, a burn is definitely not! If you cannot tolerate the direct sunlight remember you may be able to find shade in a park while doing your favorite activity (i.e. yoga, Frisbee). Another way to avoid being sunburned is to exercise earlier or later in the day when the sun is less intense.
My favourite outdoor activity?
While some of you who know me might think that my first response would be running, (and I do like to run) my favourite outdoor activity is actually hiking.
I have hiked some very interesting trails, although not as many as I would have liked to in the recent years. I have hiked trails in the Grand Canyon, a lot of trails in the Canadian Rockies, and some close to home too. I like hiking because it allows us to see some hidden treasures and great tourist attractions that not everyone else would or could see. When my sons were younger, we used to say that every trail (even the garden trail at Grandpas) was a secret path. It was a great way to explore and enjoy nature with my children and on occasion there were secret treasures like a family of porcupines sleeping in the branches of the trees.
Enjoy this beautiful weather my friends.
If this moves you, I invite you to join in on the conversation by posting a comment or sharing on social media.