Getting Back to Outdoor Exercise
Springtime in New England is a great time to get back into nature. It’s especially exciting this year, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines around masking to fight COVID-19 transmission.
The CDC says that exercising outdoors with members of your household is safe—for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals—without wearing a mask.
Regular exercise has many benefits including:
- Increased energy
- Improved mood
- Increased endurance
- Better body composition
Now is a great time to put down your mask and lace up your sneakers for some outdoor exercise.
But before you do, it’s important to check with your primary care provider to see what’s safe for you to do based on your individual health needs. This is especially important if you haven’t exercised much during the winter.
Once you get the OK from your provider, here are some ideas to help you incorporate regular activity outside into your daily life:
- Pick things you like to do. Consider activities like walking, gardening, or swimming.
- Do things with a buddy. The more enjoyable you can make your exercise experience, the more likely you are to stick with it.
- Set realistic goals. If you go for an hour walk and are sore for days, scale it back to half an hour to start. Build up your activity level gradually so your body can adapt.
- Be mindful of the environment. If you are going for a hike, dress appropriately. If it’s going to be a very hot day, do your activity in the early morning or evening to minimize heat and sun exposure.
- Hydrate. It’s important to drink water before, during, and after your activity. The American Council on Exercise offers some helpful guidelines for how much water to consume when exercising.
It may be helpful to take a group fitness class before starting out on your own—or to supplement your outdoor exercise routine.
At South Shore Health, we offer virtual and socially-distanced in-person group fitness classes for a variety of ages and ability levels.
All of our community exercise classes are led by clinically-trained exercise therapists who can help customize the movements for your needs. And maybe you’ll meet a new exercise buddy in one of these fun, social classes.
Once you get into a routine and start making fitness gains, you can appreciate your time in nature even more.
Have fun out there!