I love to stay active. I find that being active daily makes me feel better than when I do nothing physical so for me, it makes sense to do something as often as I can. As I’ve gotten a bit older and have been physically active well over 40 years now, I’ve gotten a bit smarter (not much, just a bit) and look for activities that are fun, physically stimulating (challenges my heart, lungs, muscles, functionality, balance) and are safe for me to do. Safe in that I limit the downside of injury while I’m performing an activity as well as how it will effect me in the long run (just because something doesn’t bother you while you’re doing it doesn’t mean it won’t later in the short term or long term).
For years now I have been an avid cyclist. I have a few bikes to my name and depending on my mood, desired effect, weather and some other factors, I will opt for a particular bike to use for a particular stimulus. Without getting into too many boring details, suffice it to say that I have a variety of bikes that give me a variety of benefits and so I have utilized these bikes to recreate and enhance my fitness. See, most folks think that improving your cardiovascular system, body composition, mobility, blood pressure, etc. is relegated to the gym. It’s not. You don’t need a special aerobic program to get fit. You don’t need to have a machine tell you when to go faster or to slow down, go up a hill or down a hill because when you are out recreating, you are doing all that inherently.
I could go on here but I’ll just get down to the take home message: get out, expand your options, your mind and your lungs. Go for a walk, bike ride, jog, hike, play volleyball, etc. outside and enjoy the many benefits of recreational activity. I promise you it’s a lot less boring and has many more advantages.
It’s finally here, nice weather upon us here in Asbury Park, NJ and it’s great seeing folks outside recreating and having fun. I love the word recreating – broken down to its element of “re-creating” it has all the makings of some really good stuff. I’d like to make a few suggestions and offer a couple tips if I may to make your experience a positive one:
1) If you are just starting to get moving again after a long, sedentary winter, take it slow at first. Most injuries happen when you push to hard and too fast after not being active for a while.
2) Even if you’ve been active all winter, outdoor activities are much different than stationary one’s. For instance, running on a treadmill or cycling indoors tend to be a bit safer and easier than being outside with the same activities. Running and biking outdoors for instance will have you contending with the elements (wind, sun, temperature), motorists*, potholes and curbs, air quality and more so ease into things.
*A quick note regarding motorists. PLEASE do not assume a motorist sees you and PLEASE do not assume that if he/she does that they will stop or give you the right of way. Be on the defense but be respectful as well. Motorists, take extra care to watch for people and give additional courtesies and plenty of room when passing.
3) Stay hydrated. Always bring a bottle or two of water with you, even if you’re going on a short excursion. You may not need to drink for thirst all the time as people can over heat, feel like they may pass out or even need to clean a wound.
4) Have fun, regardless of why you are out there. Whether it’s to improve your cardiovascular system, help lose a few pounds, clearing your head or getting the kids out for some play time. In fact, join in with the kids and go down the slides, hang on the monkey bars and race them up a hill. It lends itself to a great workout, great fun and great memories.