As summer is approaching and the school year is ending, it is important that we remember to exercise and stay active. Staying active provides its own benefits, like promoting strong bones and muscles and improving your overall health, as well as mental health. It can also reduce your risk for certain health issues and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Some people prefer the traditional way of exercising at a gym, while others prefer home workouts. No matter which you decide, just be ACTIVE. You have to find the right activity and/or workout that fits your ability, schedule and interests.
The American Heart Association listed the following as ways you can move more during the summer:
If your backyard is starting to look like a jungle, transforming it into a serene garden paradise could be a boost for your body and your mind. Hauling bags of topsoil will feel like a trip to the gym, while letting you enjoy the fresh air.
Forget the online searches and go local by shopping or strolling through an outdoor market to see what you can find.
Even if it’s been awhile since you’ve pedaled around the neighborhood, it’ll be easy to get back in the saddle. There’s a reason they say, “It’s like riding a bike.” Or maybe you love rollerblading or skating. Get on those wheels and go!
Your local lake or pool offers the perfect place for some great, low impact exercise that’s correlated to lower mortality rates. Dive in and get splashing!
If you don’t want to get in the water, consider getting on it. Try paddling out to a peaceful cove and do a little fishing.
The wildflowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, and spring is in the air. Get out in nature and enjoy the most beautiful time of the year!
Since we have discussed activities that can keep us active this summer, it is important to outline ways to overcome barriers from exercising and staying active. There are barriers to everything, so it’s important to plan ahead to remain focused.
United Healthcare discussed the following top seven barriers and ways to overcome them:
Spend a week identifying 30-minute time slots that you can set aside for exercise, and mark your day planner accordingly. Find ways to work in physical activity into your everyday life.
Park further from your office. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Ride your bike to the grocery store.
Lack of support from family and friends
Tell your family or friends that you want to be more active. Ask them to support your efforts. Get your spouse/significant other or friend to jog or play tennis with you. Find a group, join a gym, or a hiking, biking or running club.
We all have times when we are more energetic. If you are a morning person, maybe a before-work workout is best. If you feel an energy boost after work, then you may want to hit the gym on your way home. Others find time in the middle of the day.
No will power
If you are saying this, you may need to write yourself a contract. It may be as simple as writing down a time to exercise in your calendar or date book. You are more likely to do it if you write it down. Choose an activity you enjoy. To stay motivated, choose a reward to work toward and keep you going. Working out with a buddy (tennis partner, walking companion) will also keep it fun and keep you motivated.
Fear of injury
Talk to your doctor first to get the go-ahead to exercise. If it has been some time since you have exercised regularly, start out slowly so you do not get hurt. Choose a low-impact activity that will not injure your knees or other joints. Choose activity that’s appropriate for your age and ability level. Remember to warm up and cool down before and after exercise.
Lack the skill
If you can walk, you can exercise. In fact, you can build an entire exercise routine around walking. If you always wanted to learn to swim or play tennis, now is the time. You may want to take a class to develop new skills.
Lack of resources
This barrier maybe related to money or location. You don’t need to join an expensive gym to exercise. All you need is a pair of sneakers or comfortable walking shoes.
Go to a nearby park or make up your own route in your neighborhood. If there’s no park nearby or your neighborhood is not pedestrian-friendly, then find a recreation program or health facility at work. Take your walking routine to the mall. Work out in the privacy of your home with your favorite aerobics DVD.
For more information regarding staying ACTIVE this summer, click these links:
Now we’re all set for the summer! Enjoy and be ACTIVE!
If you want further assistance with staying active contact Methodist EAP at 901-683-5658 for a free confidential session. All sessions are being conducted via telehealth due to the pandemic.
Marquita Harris, LMSW
Living Well Network Behavioral Health Screener
Marquita Harris is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). She received her bachelor’s degree in educational psychology at Mississippi State University and her master’s degree in social work at the University of Memphis. She has over 5 years of experience working with children and adults in community mental health and 7 years of experience in child welfare where she investigated severe cases of abuse, neglect, and fatality cases in Shelby County. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
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