Step Into Spring by Increasing Your Physical Activity
It has been a long, cold winter and the warmer weather is calling us to get outside and get active. Whether it is raking leaves or getting your favorite perennial beds ready, it is the perfect time to enjoy the sun and warmer weather.
Spring is also the perfect season for increasing your physical activity. There are four basic categories of exercise and physical activity: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Each type of activity offers different benefits, and doing some form of exercise from each will yield the best results. Mixing it up also helps to reduce boredom and the risk of injury.
The good news is that some outside activities fit into more than one category. For example, many endurance activities also build strength. Strength exercises also help improve balance. Here are a few examples to inspire you this spring.
Endurance: Endurance activities increase your breathing and heart rate. They keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy and improve your overall fitness. Building endurance makes it easier to carry out many of your everyday activities.
- Brisk walking, Nordic pole walking, or jogging
- Yard work (mowing, raking, digging)
Strength: These exercises make your muscles stronger. Even small increases in strength can make a big difference in your ability to carry out everyday activities, like climbing stairs and carrying groceries.
- Lifting weights
- Using a resistance band
- Using your own body weight
Balance: These exercises help prevent falls (a common problem in older adults). Many lower-body strength exercises also will improve your balance.
- Standing on one foot
- Heel-to-toe walk
- Tai Chi
Flexibility: Performing these exercises helps to stretch your muscles and keeps your body limber. Being flexible gives you more freedom of movement.
- Shoulder and upper arm stretches
- Calf stretch
This spring, stay active! Find ways to incorporate the four types of exercise into your seasonal activities, and be sure to select activities you enjoy. Whether you’re working in your garden or taking an easy trek on your local hiking trail, staying active is important. Before starting any exercise programs or exercises on your own, check with your health care provider to make sure they are okay for you.