Explore some different activities to get moving and healthier

by Kate Evans

After a long winter, everyone wants to get outside and enjoy those sunny skies and warmer days.   As spring nears, sometimes that nicer weather comes and goes, but the importance of being active remains.

No matter the weather, there are a variety of ways to get moving and healthier year ‘round.

Exercise 20 to 30 minutes four to five times a week.

Pick an activity or exercise you enjoy such as walking or dancing and do it for 10 minutes.  Work your way up to longer periods of time.

Schedule a time for yourself to exercise every day when you know you’ll be feeling energetic.

Get up from sitting at least once an hour and walk around and stretch.

Put on some old time rock and roll or your favorite music and dance for 10-20 minutes.  If you bop to eight songs you’ll get the recommended exercise time of 30 minutes.

Walking, hiking, biking

Go for a hike at Cacapon State Park or along the C & O Canal.  Bike riding along the canal is a favorite pastime for some.

Use a pedometer and work your way up to 10,000 steps a day.  Start with 3,000 steps.

Go mall walking before you shop if it’s raining.

Fitness for families

Getting kids moving can be hard with computers, video games and cell phones.  Encourage them to consider team sports — baseball, soccer, football, softball, volleyball, wrestling, cross country, track and tennis.

A family game of Frisbee, badminton, dodgeball or kickball in the back yard will get the heart rate going. Shoot some basketball hoops, toss a football around or play catch.

Explore your different   interests whether it’s sports, gymnastics, dance, bowling, martial arts or playing a musical instrument. Playing guitar or drums or a musical instrument in marching band can give you a work out.

Indoor workouts

Try your hand at some childhood favorites like jump rope, hula hoops or a mini-trampoline.  Explore Yoga or Tai Chi.

If you like fitness equipment, you can purchase a treadmill, rowing machine, elliptical or stationary bike for your home or enjoy it at your local fitness gym.

Exercise bike

Think about an indoor walking program, kickboxing or regular boxing moves to get in shape.

Create your own fitness routine by combining stretching, weight-lifting, strength training and cardiovascular exercises.

If you’ve got a ping pong table on your basement, get a match going with friends or family when they visit.

Spring cleaning or regular house cleaning chores can burn calories and give you some moderate exercise.  Put on some good music to make it more enjoyable.

Dance, videos

Sign up for a belly dancing class, tap dancing or ballet or Zumba.  There are all kinds of fitness videos available online that you can do in the comfort of your home — walking at home, line dancing, strength and cardio workouts, Yoga, salsa dancing and more.

The great outdoors

Enjoy fishing on a local stream or river with your kids.  Take your children roller-skating or ice skating. Go canoeing, kayaking or horseback riding. Teach teens archery or safe target shooting.

If climbing is fun, find a safe outdoor spot to give it a whirl or go to an indoor fitness gym that offers a climbing wall.

With the onset of spring comes yard cleaning, picking up branches and raking up leaves and debris.  That yard work gives you good exercise in the fresh air and sunshine besides beautifying your home.

It’s hard to say if there will be much more snow before spring arrives.  But if it comes, sled riding, building a snowman and cross-country skiing are some great ways to burn some calories.  All that snow shoveling also counts toward your daily exercise quota.

The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week, along with two days of strength training per week.

Moderate exercise includes walking briskly; light yard work/gardening and active play with kids.  Vigorous activity includes jogging, running, swimming laps, dancing and playing sports.

Consult your physician before undertaking any new exercise regime.