It’s New Hampshire, so by the time you read this article, spring is over and the leaves are just about ready to turn color again!
While that might be a bit of an exaggeration, there is no doubt that the summers fly by, so we need to get off the couch and take advantage of every beautiful day. I am not much of a “winter sports” guy, although my friends Frank and Kate are always trying to get me out on my cross country skis a little more every time the snow flies. Keep trying, guys!
My goal is to encourage you to get outdoors this summer. As a physical preparation coach, I would love to see you get some regular exercise, both indoors and outdoors, just about every day. For those of you who love to “pick things up and put them down” in the gym three or four days a week, have you considered how beneficial just getting outside and taking a walk is on your recovery days? There is something about breathing in fresh air and soaking in the sunshine that helps me recover a lot better than just taking a day off.
For my running audience, I know you love to be outside, it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, what the weather is, or how dark it is. You all are crazy! How about changing things up a bit? If you are used to running on the road a lot, getting into the woods or off the beaten path can help make you even better by making you work in different ways than running in a straight line. A good hike up a mountain can challenge your quads, hips and ankles in new way, and you get a beautiful view as a bonus.
If you don’t have a regular exercise habit, it’s a great time to start. It can be as simple as putting on a comfortable pair of shoes, calling up a friend, and walking. And then do it again tomorrow.
As sad as it is to admit, I, too, am guilty of not getting outside enough. We live in a state rich with natural resources. Here in the Merrimack Valley, we can be at the ocean or in the mountains in a matter of a couple hours. But don’t ignore what’s in your backyard. You don’t have to get in a car and go anywhere to enjoy the great outdoors. Take the kids to one of the wonderful city parks (concordnh.gov/recreation) and throw a Frisbee or toss a ball. The city of Concord and surrounding towns have many wonderful hiking and biking trails (capwellness.org/concord-public-trails/) that are well maintained and fun.
Bonus Round: When possible, kick the kids out of the house. I am a big meanie, so the screen time in my house is limited. If it’s not raining, I want them outside, where the deer and the antelope play. Okay, so it’s a golden lab and a few chipmunks, but does it really matter?
Get out there and have some fun!
Dean Carlson is co-owner of Get Fit NH in Concord and Epsom and a member of the Capital Area Wellness Coalition.
The Capital Area Wellness Coalition coordinates community resources and builds partnerships to create a culture of healthy living for everyone. The coalition meets monthly on the second Wednesday at 8 a.m. at the Center for Health Promotion, 49 S. Main St. For more information, visit capwellness.org.