Here’s a thought: If your resting heart rate is 10 to 20 beats south of your age, you might already be fit. In that case, we’re in awe of you—keep doing what you’re doing. If, however, you’re like many of the rest of us—who could stand to shed a few pounds, want to rebuild muscle lost while recovering from illness or injury, or just need a break from a boring gym-bound routine—here are some fun ways to build strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness while enjoying pleasant springtime weather.
Spending a couple daylight hours outdoors offers more benefits than you may think: Did you know that Vitamin D is made from the cholesterol in our skin when it’s exposed to the UVB rays in sunlight?1 This critical nutrient helps strengthen bones. Sunshine and fresh air also help increase energy levels, reduce stress, boost mood, and improve short-term memory.2
Workout or recess?
Remember going out to play during elementary school? We got in great workouts just by ripping and running. Want to get back some of that youthful energy? These outdoor activities combine fun and fitness (to help protect yourself against injury, please consult with your primary care physician before beginning an exercise program):
- Casual parkour: You don’t have to leap over buildings. Just try jumping cracks on sidewalks, balancing on curbs while walking, running around security bollards, hopping onto a park or bus bench, and swinging a leg over a fence or fire hydrant.
- Live action role-playing (LARP): Now that “Game of Thrones” is over, consider joining an LARP gaming group. Bounding around in heavy costumes can give you quite a cardio workout.
- Geocaching: In short, it’s the modern version of a scavenger hunt using GPS to locate a container or “cache” filled with items. While geocaches are located all over the world, you can participate in a local search or create one for your family and friends.
- Hang around the house: When all else fails, you can always clean up the lawn or play with your children. Yardwork can burn around 250 to 450 calories an hour!3
- Exercise “upside down”: Those of us with mobility challenges, especially if we’re getting back into shape, may need to modify standard exercises in unconventional ways:
- If performing a lunge is too hard with both feet on the floor, try placing the forward foot on a raised porch or stairstep and bending your back leg.
- Use your body weight to help you gain range of motion when stretching. For example, instead of sitting up and leaning forward into a butterfly stretch, lie on your back and pull your legs toward you.
- Think you’re too weak to do pushups? Hang upside down on a horizontal bar that’s low enough for you to place your hands on the ground, and push up from there. Or lie on a bench with your hips forward enough for you to bend at the waist, place your hands on the ground, and raise your upper body.
Rainy day alternatives
On days when your schedule is too tight or bad weather rains on your party, take advantage of these activities
- Walk outside during phone calls: If you work from home or spend a lot of time sitting in an office, go out and walk when you need to talk on the phone. Just a few minutes at a time, a couple times daily will do wonders for you physically and emotionally. If you’re stuck indoors, just walk a set of stairs while chatting.
- Sit on the floor: Pull away from your chair and sit on the floor for a few minutes. Don’t cheat by leaning against the wall or furniture. Sitting upright on the floor engages your core.
- Hold standing meetings: Install marker boards to keep notes, but everyone remains standing throughout the meeting. Bonus benefit: Your meetings may become shorter and more productive.
- Host a mini-dance party: Yup, hold a Carlton Dance challenge for 10 minutes in the afternoon a couple times a week. It’s really not that unusual.
If you work during the day, plan to exercise outside around noon, weather permitting, of course. Ultraviolet B rays are most intense when the sun is high in the sky, meaning that Vitamin D can be created in less time. No matter when you’re in the sun though, be sure to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30+ to help protect yourself from sun damage, sunburn, and skin cancer. Also, stay well-hydrated throughout the day, not just when you’re outside.
If you have challenges with seasonal allergies, asthma, or joint pain, Teladoc can help provide relief quickly and conveniently. Your Teladoc benefits include 24/7 access to U.S.-certified physicians anywhere you are. We treat a wide range of non-emergency ailments and conditions, including respiratory infections, skin rashes, and even sprains and strains. Download the app, and you’ll always have high-quality healthcare at your fingertips.
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