Physical Wellness: Tips for Staying Active This Summer

Physical activity is one of the single most important things you can do for your health. And now that summer is here, those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest have a wonderful opportunity to go outside and participate in our favorite outdoor activity. Hiking, kayaking, swimming, bicycling and just walking around the neighborhood all provide great exercise, which can keep you performing at your peak.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular exercise can help:

  • Reduce your risk of numerous diseases, including some cancers
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles, reducing your risk of injury
  • Improve your mental health

Exercise has also been shown to keep the brain healthy, which can improve job performance. According to the Harvard Business Review, regular exercise can:

  • Improve your memory and concentration
  • Help you learn more quickly
  • Provide prolonged mental stamina
  • Enhance creativity
  • Lower stress

So, how much exercise do you need to reap these benefits? According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), adults should get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity every week, with greater amounts of activity providing greater benefit. HHS also recommends strength training for all major muscle groups at least two times week.

While summer may make it easier to accomplish these goals, what about those cool, rainy days that are so plentiful? Here are some tips to stay physically engaged throughout the year.

Get a workout buddy

Exercising with someone not only gives you an opportunity to add a social element to your workout, it increases your chances of maintaining a regular routine. A study at Indiana University found that married couples who worked out together had a much lower dropout rate than couples who worked out separately (6.3% to 43%). This could be as simple as walking with your spouse or neighbor every morning.

Get a dog

A dog is a great workout buddy. First, they need to be walked, so you have a constant source of motivation. Numerous studies show that dog owners are healthier than non-owners and the benefits extend beyond physical health. In study conducted by psychologists at Miami University and St. Louis University, researchers discovered that pet ownership led to better overall health and well-being.

Set a goal

If you walk in the mornings, set a goal to walk to the park and back or three laps around the lake. Having a specific goal will help you keep focused and make you less likely to become distracted by all the temptations that will try to keep you from keeping your commitment.

Clip on a pedometer

Research has shown that people walked almost twice as much when they wore a pedometer. These devices allow people to check their progress and actually having something recording your level of activity seems to be enough of a motivator for people to get moving.

Schedule it

Put exercise on your daily to-do list and schedule a specific time for it. Most people do best by having a regular time each day – often first thing in the morning. Having a regular routine helps many stick to their commitment easier.

Add in some fun

Look for activities for which you already have an interest in doing – such as gardening, dancing, or golf. It’s much easier to get motivated for something you actually enjoy doing! If your main activity is walking, change your route to include new sights and sounds to keep you interested.

photo of Rury LeeRury Lee, the Fitness Coordinator at The Summit, says, “The research on the importance of physical activity is overwhelming, including the correlation between fitness and work performance. For those who want to achieve great things on the job, it’s important to have a regular exercise routine.” If you’d like some tips on creating a workout routine for yourself, contact Rury.

Kaiser Permanente offers it members health and fitness product discounts through their ChooseHealthy program. You can find discounts on activity trackers, fitness gear and clothing, and home exercise and gym equipment. Call 877-335-2746 for more information.

© Kline Galland with IlluminAge 2019