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Spring Exercise

Spring Exercise

Getting Healthy in a Natural Environment

Now that spring is here, it's a great time to get outside and get healthy. There are plenty of ways to use nature as your friend and get a workout that promotes all-around health. These ideas are not just for women trying to lose weight; they are for all women to guard against obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancers, and other health pitfalls. These tips also bring you closer to nature and the great outdoors when the weather is ideal.

*It is recommended that women get about 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week.

One of the easiest ways to get the heart pumping is to walk. Walking or hiking is a low-impact, aerobic exercise that temporarily increases the heart rate to exercise and strengthen the cardiovascular system. It thereby helps to keep weight at a healthy level and protects against diabetes.

Walking can be done almost anywhere, including on your neighborhood streets, on park trails, along a resevoir, or on boardwalks. A great way to keep up with a walking regimen is to join a local walking or hiking club.

Taking a bike ride is another excellent way to get some exercise. Why do you think kids are always on bikes? Because they're fun!

Bikes come in all shapes and sizes as well as price points. There are mountain bikes for the adventurous types who want to go off road. Racing bikes are lighter and more streamlined for long distance road racing. And fortunately for the rest of us there are standard bicycles with upright handle bars, comfortable seats, and just a few or only one speed.

Bicycling is much like walking, with the exception that it can often take the rider farther than the feet can.

Golf isn't just for die-hards. It's a relaxing, low-impact sport that is great for the legs (walking), the arms (driving and putting), and the back (bending and reaching.)

There are several ways to enjoy golf. If you are a newbie, you can try a pitch-n-putt game, which is a smaller version of a 9 or 18 hole course. It is larger than a miniature golf course, with ample walking, but it is not overwhelming for a beginner. A full course can be 9 or 18 holes, but it is longer and more rigorous. Finally, a way to relieve frustration and work out the arms is to go to a driving range and hit golf balls for distance and accuracy.

Tennis is a fun game to play outdoors (although it is also available year round indoors.) Perhaps more time and money need to be invested in this sport in order to perfect it, but with inexpensive lessons at a local YMCA or community center, this game can be a great way to achieve optimum physical health. It builds endurance (continual running and moving), coordination, and a healthy sense of competition.


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