New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or get healthier may be long forgotten, but spring, with its beautiful flowers and warmer weather, is the perfect time to rejuvenate those resolutions by getting active outdoors.
Most of us know that regular physical activity can help prevent heart disease and type 2 diabetes, reduce the risk of some cancers, help you maintain a healthy weight; strengthen muscles and bones and improve your mental health. Regardless, most of us do not get the exercise we need.
One way you can increase your activity level is by using your built environment, including sidewalks, stoplights, trails and parks like the great walking path at the Henry County Recreation and Services Park just north of New Castle, or the disc golf course at Harry Hill, developed by the last Leadership Henry Class. It may be appealing for those just beginning an exercise program to start by using the built environment because it’s close to home and doesn’t require the upfront costs of a gym membership. You just have to make time to use it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should aim for 30 or more minutes per day of moderate physical activity on five or more days of the week. Additionally, individuals need to engage in muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscles groups two or more days per week. These activities can be done in 10-minute intervals. Aerobic activity is anything that gets you breathing harder and your heart pumping faster.
Taking an evening walk on a walking trail or through your neighborhood can help you reach 2.5 hours a week, as long as you’re walking at a brisk pace. Bicycling or roller skating are also good forms of exercise that can be done in your built environment.
If you have a chronic condition or disability, you can still reap the benefits of physical activity, but you should check with your doctor before your start any exercise program. They will be able to give you suggestions for types of physical activities that may work best for you.
Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.