Move more while enjoying fresh air and sunshine with these exciting and relaxing activities.

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As the days get longer, you will likely have more opportunities to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Doing so also makes it more likely you'll be more physically active. After all, unless your idea of enjoying being outdoors is simply sitting in a chair in your backyard, most activities that beckon you outside come with some added physical activity – and that's good for both your physical and mental well-being.

Studies have shown that while exercise of any type is good for your health, exercise done outside in nature is even better. You'll get all the health benefits of physical activity, plus you'll likely find that outdoor exercise helps reduce stress and mental fatigue, improve mood and even raise your self-esteem. As a bonus, you may feel like you're not working as hard when exercising outdoors, which makes it easier to finish your workout or allows you to stay active longer.

Ready to take advantage of the extra daylight at this time of year (and for months to come)? Here are 5 fun, interesting and invigorating ways to do so:

  1. Watch a sunrise or sunset. Nature has a way of wowing us each and every day and watching the sun rise or set is one of the grandest ways to enjoy its beauty. Take a walk outside while savoring the changing colors of the sky. It's invigorating, relaxing and recharging.
  2. Explore a new location. If your walk is getting boring or routine, find a new location to switch things up. There's no end to the places you can explore as you put one foot in front of the other. Seeing new sights may be just what you need to breathe new life into your daily walk or run.
  3. Take it off road. Have you spent time walking, running or biking indoors this winter? Instead of taking your activity out on the road, why not take it off road? Hiking, trail running and mountain biking provide a whole new set of challenges and benefits that are just waiting to be seized.
  4. Help things grow. Now is the perfect time to get your garden going for the growing season. Whether digging, mulching, weeding or planting, you'll not only get your garden in tip-top shape, but gardening activities will help get your body in shape, too.
  5. Stretch and savor. Treat your body and your mind by finding a quiet location outdoors to stretch, do yoga or perform bodyweight exercises while enjoying fresh air and daylight. This outdoor activity is sure to invigorate your body and your mind.

Whatever activity you choose to do outdoors, make sure you are dressed properly for the weather. Stretch before and after, especially if it's cold out (you may want to do your stretching someplace warm if it's especially cold). Don't forget to wear sunscreen. And as always, check with your doctor before starting any new activity, especially if you have chronic health conditions.


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Date Last Reviewed: January16, 2024

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Andrew Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS

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