With the beautiful days of spring and summer ahead of us it’s time to get outside!
Enjoying the weather can naturally lead us to be more physically active, which is good for both our minds and our bodies. Let’s intentionally embrace these opportunities and find pleasure in our movement.
There are ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily life to make it fun, so that it doesn’t feel like work. With so many amazing places to explore, physical activity doesn’t need to be repetitive, boring, or expensive.
Let’s look at some ways to make this a great, active summer!
Incorporate Physical Activity into Your Everyday Life
If you live a busy life and struggle to find time to be active, try to incorporate it into your daily life. You don’t need to set time aside for a long workout when you move throughout the day. Try a few of the following examples this week.
- Choose a parking spot far away from the building when out and about.
- Walk or bike places if possible when running errands, getting together with friends, etc.
- Carry your child or give them a piggy back ride to the car, the lunch table, or bedtime.
- Race up and down the stairs in between other less active pursuits.
- Take the stairs, rather than the elevator.
- Chop your vegetables, instead of using a food processor.
- Talk and walk when getting together with a friend, having a meeting with a coworker, or when taking phone calls.
- Establish the habit of taking an after dinner walk.
Make It Fun
Movement doesn’t have to be hard. Ideally, you should feel energized after physical activity. While you may be a little sore or tired, it should not be something that completely wipes you out or causes you true pain.
Finding movement that you really enjoy will help you to move more consistently. If you find something that is fun you will do it more often. Movement should never turn into something you dread!
First, think about your personality and current needs.
- Do you need some time alone?
- Would you prefer some company?
- Do you need to start small?
- Are you ready for something more intense?
Now, pick a couple activities to start with.
- Go to the park and play with your kids
- Take a walk with (or without) a coworker on your lunch break
- Ride a bike
- Do a yoga video
- Swim some laps (or enjoy water slides)
- Jump rope or jump on a trampoline
- Play hopscotch
- Have a water balloon fight
- Take a dance class
- Try rock climbing
- Play tennis
- Explore your city (or a city near you) on foot
Plan Bigger Excursions for Days Off
There are so many fun places to explore that will get you outside in nature and keep you active. While many of these places could be enjoyed in a brief visit, taking some extra time will enhance your experience.
Don’t be afraid to try something new! You might surprise yourself by finding a new passion (canoe, archery, hiking, biking, etc.)
- Blackwell in Warrenville
- Herrick Lake in Warrenville
- Lincoln Marsh (& the Prairie Patch Play Area) in Wheaton
- The Illinois Prairie Path
- Danada Forest Preserve (with the Danada Equestrian Center)
Activity and the Brain
Many parents want to provide academic enrichment for their children over the summer. While there is nothing wrong with including this type of enrichment, it is important to recognize the huge impact movement has on the brain.
A study, conducted at the University of Illinois, actually found an association between physical fitness and the brain in 9- and 10-year-old children. Children who were more fit tended to have a bigger hippocampus and perform better on a test of memory than their less-fit peers.
Check out the following article on Why Physical Activity Is So Good for Your Brain?
I hope you have a wonderful, active, healthy spring and summer! As always, let me know if there is any way that I can assist you in making this a great summer.