With the lengthening days, the warmer weather, and all of nature bursting to life, there is something about the spring season which gives us the enthusiasm to get up and start moving our bodies again. Regular exercise is proven to reduce anxiety and depression, it helps to increase the quality of sleep, and can help ward off many health conditions often associated with older age.
As keeping fit and strong has such a positive impact on mental and physical health, here at Lifton Home Elevators, we have got lots of ways you can embrace the urge to get out there and get active this spring.
1) Walks in nature
What could be better than finding a peaceful spot for a good long walk, taking in the sights, smells and sounds of nature as it emerges into the new season, and enjoying the local scenery.
Walking in nature has lots of benefits, including the chance to breathe in the fresh air, getting increased oxygen levels, getting out in the sunlight so absorbing some much needed vitamin D, and decreasing the stress levels.
The great thing about a nature walk is that you can set the pace, and alter it to your level of fitness. If you are just starting out, make sure you find a walk that is flat, and plan in lots of stops so you don’t tire out. If you are fit and used to walking you can plan a more challenging walk to get the blood pumping.
If you want to make a day of it, why not take a picnic. Food eaten in the outdoors tastes so much more flavorsome too.
2) Swimming at the local pool
Swimming is often cited as the best all-round exercise you can do. It uses all the muscle groups, and raises the heart rate, and is extremely good for mental health, by providing a therapeutic space away from all the usual stresses.
Now the winter is behind us, swimming becomes a much more appealing activity as leaving the local public pool with wet hair in the cold and dark can be off-putting. So why not invest in a new swimsuit, and head to the local baths. If you find a pool which has a spa and sauna attached, you can treat your body and mind after your workout for a truly feel-good experience.
3) Exercise classes
If you’re unsure about exercise or how to get started, a good way to begin is to find a nearby exercise class. Often there are specific classes for older people or for beginners. By being in a group exercising together there is often a supportive, sociable atmosphere, and the class instructor should be trained to help you with any specific health worries you have.
There are many types of exercise classes out there, from dance based classes, to spinning, to water aerobics, where the exercises are done in a swimming pool, using the support and resistance of the water, so do your research and find one that appeals to you.
4) Plan excursions
If you aren’t really into exercise as such, but want to increase your weekly activity, you could think about booking in regular excursions to places of interest. If you’ve ever wondered why you feel so tired after a city shopping trip, just think about how far you walk and how much energy you use. The same goes with a trip to the zoo, a museum or a local park.
If you have grandchildren why not plan a series of trips with them and you can have the joy of seeing new places together, learning new things and spending some special time, whilst getting some valuable exercise without even noticing!
5) Yoga and pilates
Classes like yoga and pilates are excellent for all round physical health, as they concentrate on core muscles and build the body’s strength slowly over time. For people suffering from weak joints or previous muscle damage, this type of exercise can be tailored to help support the body without putting it under stress. Because the exercises are done slowly and thoughtfully, often in line with the breath, there is less risk of injury.
Yoga and pilates classes commonly have an element of meditation or deep relaxation which is also good for stress and anxiety levels, which in turn are good for mental health and long term brain health. Once you know the basic moves and postures, yoga and pilates can be practiced at home alone, on holiday as and when you feel the need for exercise and time out.
6) Take up a sport
Exercise can be a great outlet for pent up frustrations, and a way to contain a competitive streak. For people who relate to this, taking up a sport might be the best idea, as the drive to get better at it could be enough to keep you practicing regularly and getting fit without even noticing.
Obviously there are a huge range of sports to choose from, such as golf for a slower pace, badminton or tennis for the more energetic, bowling for those who like a more sociable sport, and lawn bowling for enjoying outdoors in the summer months.
Whether taking part as part of a team or solo, the focus on competition and aiming to keep improving can make any sport really addictive in a healthy and positive way, and may see you staying active all year long.