The warm weather that usually accompanies the springtime is a great reason to get outside and meet your fitness goals. Our recommendation for physical activity is to get at least thirty minutes of moderate intensity exercise daily, and with spring here you've got more options to get moving. Below are a few favorite (and free!) ways AICR’s employees enjoy being active outdoors when the weather warms up:
Our Assistant Director of Supporter Services, Angie, has a unique game that she plays with her family to get them moving: they use a deck of cards to dictate how many reps of a preset exercise regimen they will do. The cards each have a value and each family member takes turns drawing a card and then doing repetitions of a certain exercise. The exercises range from sit-ups to running up and down the stairs to push-ups. By using a deck of 52 cards, they end up doing anywhere from 7-10 rounds of different activities, depending on how many people they have playing! “It’s nice because it gets the entire family involved, and it lets us have fun while getting a good workout” she said, commenting on the game that her family has been playing for a few years now.
Hiking is one of the best ways to meet your step goal while also receiving incredible payouts; there’s no reward quite like a stunning view after a steep uphill climb. Our office is situated about an hour away from some of the best hiking on the east coast, with both Shenandoah National Park and George Washington National Forest in close proximity. Our Assistant Director of Digital Programs, Becky, takes advantage of this, saying that she enjoys it because, “there are always new places to see and wildlife to discover.”
While running can always be done indoors on a treadmill, it’s more motivating to get outside and go on a run when the weather’s nice. Alice, our Director of Nutrition Programs, participates in a global organization called ParkRun, where anyone can show up and run 5k every Saturday for free. While this is great for exercise, she mentions that it’s also a fun way to meet people and get involved in your local community. Groups consist of about 20 to over 100 people who notice when you don’t show up. This type of community, she says, not only keeps you motivated but also keeps you accountable.
Some studies have shown that pets have a beneficial effect on your health, but even the most devoted pet owner will tell you that having to take your dog out in windy, sub-freezing temps isn’t their idea of fun. When it gets warmer, pet owners - especially dog owners - rejoice, as do their furry companions. Whether you’re out for a walk, or taking your dog to a park to play ball, getting moving is much more fun when you have a companion that’s just as excited to be outside as you are. Our Research Programs Manager, Kirstie, enjoys going outside and playing Frisbee with both of her dogs. As a former Ultimate Frisbee player, tossing the disc for her dogs is a fun way to get her steps in as well as tire out her dogs - and a tired dog makes for a happy owner.
Research has shown that if you enjoy the activity, you’re more likely to stick with it. With the abundance of activities available to do outdoors, you’re likely to find something that you enjoy. Other activities that our staff mentioned include things like washing your car or doing yard work. And although they may not usually be thought of as exercise, both are very physical. What’s your favorite thing to do outside?