Can you believe summer is already halfway through? So far this summer I went camping with my family and indulged in my regular runs, but like some of you I still have some COVID weight to shed! According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adults should accumulate 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity and two days of muscle strengthening activity per week. Another way of putting this is try your best to get about 30 minutes of activity each day. Easier said than done – even with the best of intentions we may not meet these seemingly achievable goals.
We know that not everyone has access to green spaces or a neighborhood park. A study done by the Trust For Public Lands, estimates that 1 in 6 Americans (100 million people) do not have access to a park within a 10-minute walk from home. You can see how your city scores on their website. While parks are a great resource and can offer a wide range of physical activity options, you do not need a park to be physically active. Below are some ideas and resources to help you on your physical activity journey this summer.
Walking, Hiking, and Biking
Down the street, to the store, across town, into the unknown. It doesn’t really matter where you go, or even for how far or long. Getting outside for a walk, a hike, or a bike ride is a great way to exercise. The app and website All Trails allows you to easily find and map out your next adventure. Regardless of what you do, be safe. Be careful to not do more than your body is conditioned for and be sure to check the weather. If you are going out for more than 30 minutes be sure to bring water and for a day hike consider checking out this packing list.
Camping or Backpacking
Personally, I enjoy camping and backpacking but these activities require more planning, and depending on the location you may need reservations months ahead of time. There are many local, regional, state and national parks to visit and explore. For each of these, you can likely find a list of parks on that municipality website. The following link, for example, allows you to search for national parks and filter by type of activity, state, and zip code. Additionally, there are several apps for phones to help you find parks and/or plan your trip (e.g., Park Finder). If it has been a while since you have gone camping, be sure to be prepared and create a list of all the things you need to pack.
Play or Learn a New Sport
Unfortunately organized sport participation for children by-in-large was negatively impacted by the pandemic, but sport participation had been declining for years. Lets face it, it is not easy finding 9 other friends to play a game of pick up basketball. However, many cities have child and adult recreation leagues – simply google the name of your city and “recreation league” or the name of the activity you are interested in and chances are you will find something. Additionally, try meetup.com, you can start a group or find an existing one in your area.
We know one of the barriers to sport participation is lacking the skills and the confidence. If you are looking to learn a new sport or activity, there are resources available for you to do so. One such resource is our Digital Encyclopedia, which is available through public libraries. All you need is a library card, and if your local library has purchased Hiveclass you’ll instantly have access to the platform, which features instruction in 9 sports, and counting! If Hiveclass isn’t available at your local library you can always request that they purchase it and direct them to our website to learn how! .
Gamify Your Physical Activity
Sometimes we all need a little motivation to get off the couch and/or out the door. To motivate yourself you may listen to music but also consider adding gamification. Gamifying your physical activity turns what may be a mundane task into a game or competition. You can create your own rules, structure, and even point systems. Play by yourself, your family, and/or your friends. Here are some ideas to help you motivate yourself through the dog days of summer:
- Physical Activity Bucket List – Create your list and check it off. Be creative and be specific. Instead of “go for a run” be more specific like “go for a 3-mile trail run”- see how many you can get!
- BINGO – Turn your bucket list into a game of BINGO and play with others. Set the rules like no more than two squares per day or the winner gets to choose the next movie on movie night.
- Highest Points Wins! – Create a list of physical activities and assign each activity on the list points based on difficulty. For example, jumping rope for 5 minutes might be worth 5 points, while a 60 minute bike ride could be worth 75 points. As with BINGO, play by yourself or with others and see how many points you can get!
Get Out There!
Or in there, or whatever way you like to be physically active. I enjoy being outside when I exercise. My favorite thing is running in the rain – the harder the rain the better. I know finding time is the easiest excuse (and sometimes true) to justify not being physically active. As a parent of two small children I get it! It is easy to say chasing after them should count (and it does!), but I also need some solitary physical activity to be able to hit reset on my brain. Find your motivation and your path towards being physically active – most importantly have fun with it!