Spring has arrived! With longer days and warmer weather, the birds are starting to sing, the buds are blooming, the sap is running, and the brooks are starting to flow.
As all of nature wakes up, I feel the same urge to get myself moving! There’s something about spring that makes us all itch not only to get outside, but also to get our bodies in motion—busy and active.
How about you? Are you getting outdoors and active? Working on your garden? Walking more often? Fishing? Playing ball with your dog in the evening light? Jumping in puddles? Wading through mud season?! I'd love to hear what you're up to!
Sometimes getting outdoors and active in today’s world can be a challenge. Our society spends so much time indoors in offices and watching TV; many of us even exercise inside.
- Years ago, most of our relatives worked on a farm (and some of us still do); this work naturally delivered the physical activity and fresh air that our bodies needed. Granted, farming was hard work. But activities like cutting wood, haying, and herding used our bodies fully.
- Today, only a small percentage of us farm, yet we still need to be physically active AND to spend some time outdoors to stay healthy. Perhaps the best way is to combine the two—get active outdoors!
I recently read a very interesting book advocating this "outdoors" philosophy, Women at Play: A Girl’s Guide to Everyday Outdoor Exercise to Look Good, Feel Good, Sleep Well, and Be Happy, by Joan Griffin. Of course, the principles could easily apply to men as well as women, and to mothers and grandmothers as well as children.
The book referenced a study of high-power professionals who exercised inside extensively—with stairmasters, treadmills, rowing machines, and stationary bikes. Not surprisingly, their stress hormones were not reduced and they experienced the same anxiety levels, despite the exercise.
Don’t you wonder if their stress and anxiety levels would be improved if they were getting outdoors? Enjoying more sunlight and fresh air? Connecting with the natural world around them? Even in the city, we can feel the wind on our cheeks. Another benefit of getting sunlight is getting Vitamin D—which we all need for bone growth and to lower many health risks. Did you know that about 90% of the vitamin D in your body is made when your skin is exposed to sunlight? Only about 10 percent comes from food.
The book I read eloquently pointed out that “the best food is seasonal and so are the best outdoor activities . . . . For every thing, there is a season.” All of us who garden well—and eat well—know that food tastes best at the time when it is in season. Likewise, there is a season for outdoor activity! Our bodies do best when engaged in harmony with Earth.
Here’s my outdoor "wish list" for the spring season:
• Leave my computer alone at lunch and walk outside in the sunshine
• Ride a bike with my husband
• Play on the lawn for 30 minutes after supper with my child
• Saunter down a trail on the weekend—and listen to the woods
• Just walk in a new direction
• Dig in the dirt and garden
• Stroll around my neighborhood, explore the buds on our trees, listen to peepers
• Go outside on Saturday nights to enjoy sunsets and watch the Moon rise
Doesn’t this list sound more like adventure than exercise?
Anything on your list? Please post your comment below. Thank you for sharing!