Get out and get active

Spring up your level of physical activity!

As the sun is starting to shine and the snowcartwheel is beginning to melt, spring is just around the corner and it is time to awaken from our winter hibernation and start moving again. With the weather getting warmer it’s a great time to begin reconnecting with the outdoors.

The physical activity guidelines for Americans recommend that healthy adults get 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of physical activity each week. This number can seem intimidating, but it can be broken down into 10 minute amounts throughout the day which can work for most schedules. Taking a 10 minute walk outside during a lunch break can be a good way to fit it in.

It is also recommended to do muscle-strengthening exercises two or more days each week. These can be done with hand weights, exercise bands or just your own body weight. Doing pushups against a tree, stepping up and down on a park bench, or doing pull ups on the jungle gym are easy ways to strengthen your muscles while enjoying the outdoors. You want to make sure to increase your physical activity in small amounts over time and choose activities that are appropriate for your fitness level.

You may have always wanted to run a marathon, participate in a triathlon or climb a mountain, but feel those are unattainable goals due to your current fitness level. It may help you succeed by breaking it down into smaller or shorter goals. This can range from a daily goal of walking for 30 minutes to a weekly goal of 150 minutes of total activity. This can assist in keeping you motivated and on track. Just make sure your short term goal is achievable, specific and still challenging. A goal that is too difficult to reach can be discouraging and may cause you to give up. One that is too easy doesn’t allow for a sense of accomplishment, so don’t be afraid to push yourself a little!

There are many outdoor activities that can motivate you to get moving and meet your physical activity goals. Walking, running and playing with your kids outside are just a few of the many possibilities.  If you lack a backyard or a safe neighborhood to walk in, you could try other community parks, walking and hiking trails, canoeing and kayaking rentals, and public pools or beaches for swimming. Check your local parks and recreation website to find what is available in your community.

If you are having a difficult time knowing where to start or getting motivated, Michigan State University Extension has several classes and resources that can help you learn more about physical activity as well as eating healthy.

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