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Spring is here, and with it comes April's Move More Month, a celebration of staying active! The warmer weather affords plenty of opportunities for exercise, but April showers sometimes keep us at home, while some of us might not have our vaccines yet and might not be able to hit the reopened gyms. But you can still get a full workout at home, on the trail, or in your backyard, even without equipment! Here are 8 ways to stay active in the spring.
The foundation of most workout routines, these are exercises that require little to no equipment, instead relying on your own weight to create resistance. They can help build strength and improve balance, coordination, and endurance without requiring a gym membership or exercise machine. You can perform them anywhere you have space in your home, and any equipment you use is optional. You can also use household objects to change up your routine; for instance, many people use a dining room bench or even a coach armrest to provide an incline to vary up exercises.
There are many different body weight exercises, but some of the most common include pushups, lunges, Burpees, planks, and crunches. Take a look online and you'll be sure to find a workout that meets your needs!
It's easy to characterize yoga as a stretching routine, but it's an endlessly adaptable form of exercise that can meet your needs regardless of age or fitness level. Those looking for a gentle stretching exercise can approach yoga from that perspective while those who want a more vigorous, cardio-focused workout can speed up the pace and even incorporate moves from other body weight exercises to increase intensity. YouTube and other streaming sites are full of yoga routines by experienced teachers, so take a look to find something that fits your experience level and fitness needs!
Even with more people getting vaccinated, it's probably best to avoid crowded, indoor locations right now -- mall walking would usually be a common suggestion, especially for older adults -- but that's a great excuse to take advantage of the warmer, spring weather! Nature trails are still available for you to get your steps in, and if you have a dog you have plenty of opportunities to go on walks around the neighborhood. You've probably spent a lot of time indoors, between a long winter and the necessities of staying safe during the pandemic.
Don't have much time for an outdoor walk? Take the stairs! The vertical movement of climbing stairs increases resistance from gravity, which helps build leg strength quickly. Stair climbing is a dynamic cardio workout that you can incorporate into any point of your daily routine, whether you're home or at work, and any set of indoor stairs provides an opportunity for a workout unaffected by the weather outside. It burns more calories than running, so if you're looking to challenge yourself, give it a try!
If you're ready for something more intense, this demanding style of exercise can raise your metabolic rate, reduce heart and blood pressure, and increase oxygen consumption -- all changes that can help improve your mood. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) alternates short bursts of intense exercise with intervals of lower-intensity activity, giving you the benefits of a longer duration of exercise within a much shorter time period.
If you're in the mood for something more high-impact than a walk, spring offers plenty of opportunities for activity. Not just running or jogging, but cycling, skating, and skateboarding all provide opportunities to move. If you live in a warm enough area, swimming may be possible even this early in the season. It's also possible to compete in sports like tennis and golf while maintaining social distancing!
Exercise doesn't always have to be structured! You can burn just as many calories having fun with your family by hiking or cycling together. Your family can play sports together like baseball, basketball, flag football, and soccer, or play lawn games like tag, cornhole or ladder toss. If you're in the mood for freeform fun, you can hula hoop, jump rope, or even dance! You can get the benefits of a full workout but while spending time with the people you love (as well as having too much fun to notice all the work you're putting in).
If you own a home, the work you're already doing is getting you in shape! Cleaning up the yard for the spring takes a lot of work and a lot of movement, making it a great exercise option that's also productive. Raking, pushing a mower, and digging can work out all your major muscle groups, especially if you follow these tips on how to approach yard work like an exercise routine. If working in the yard sound like a great option to you, consider starting a garden! It will give you plenty of opportunities to move around your yard with purpose.
Do you need help to move more? After a long winter and a homebound year, we're all getting used to being active again. Mountain Ice is here to help! No matter what your activity level is, we've got a Mountain Ice variety that will help relieve your aches and pains and let you enjoy the warmth and fun of spring: