Spring if finally upon us! With the opening of the windows and doors, along with sunshine and fresh air, we are greeted with so many new opportunities to get active that didn’t seem so apparent during the winter months. Getting outdoors takes much less preparation and effort. Being outdoors is pleasant and easy (at least for those of us who prefer warmer weather).
The benefits of being active in spring go beyond just feeling good and being healthy, and might not be what you expect. Let’s take a look.
This is a task that is daunting to many. To those who are looking to shed the lazy winter lifestyle, yard work is an opportunity for a great workout. It is physical labour, after all. Raking the grass. Sweeping the deck. Lifting the yard bags and carrying them all the way to the curb. With so much work to do to get that yard ready for entertaining, you barely notice that you’re actually getting exercise. The hidden benefit to all this is exercise is that will actually feel proud to look out the window for weeks to come. The sight of the green grass and the freshly turned flower beds will give you pleasure, and encourage out to get outdoors and to spend more time in your yard.
Every spring, when I get onto my bike for the first time, I relive that moment when my dad first let go of my bike and allowed me to go pedalling down the street without training wheels for the first time. It feels that good! Just getting your bike out of storage (or down from a hook on the ceiling in the garage) can been a chore. But it is well worth it if you’re first ride is on a warm and sunny day. With your bike available, you can start to ride to places where you might have otherwise driven. This is good for us, both physically and emotionally, and it is has the hidden benefit of being good for the environment.
If you are into winter sports, it is likely that you’ve spent a lot of time outdoors in the past few months. If not, you may be itching for the freedom that comes with being outside. For children, this freedom is critical. The park is that place where children can run, jump, climb, swing, yell… did I mention climb? These are things that we spend months asking kids not to do indoors. At the park they can be unleashed to do all the things that kids are meant to do. Those first few trips to the park in spring come with the hidden benefit of rekindling old neighbourhood friendships that may have fallen by the wayside while everyone was spending so much time inside. The social bonding that happens at the park in spring is miraculous, in my opinion, for kids and their parents alike.
We don’t only get to enjoy spring outdoors on the weekends. The renewed sense of energy and vigour can carry through the work week. Just because it is time to get down to work, it doesn’t mean we can’t stay active. After a stroll or a bike ride to work, the last thing we want to do is to sit down at our desks. Good thing we can stand or walk while working, thanks to sit-stand desks or treadmill desks respectively.
The benefits of staying out of your chair are indeed physical; increased circulation, reduced muscle strain and decreased back pain to name a few. Additional benefits can extend into surprising areas of your work and personal life. Some examples include improved mood, increased focus, even renewed confidence and creativity.
So let’s come out of hibernation and get moving! You know it’s good for your health, but why not take some time to uncover the hidden benefits of all this springtime activity. What do you like to do once spring arrives to get your heart racing? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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I had the honour of speaking with Olive Myhre the day after her 105th birthday. Olive has lived through events that most of us only read about in history books, including two World Wars, the introduction of the automobile, the invention of the computer, and man’s first steps on the moon. I was able to learn about her life and her perspective on health and happiness. Here is our interview.
Today, on International Women’s Day, I have chosen to profile Laurel Walzak, the female co-founder of Fitneff Inc. Laurel has been successful in so many areas of her career - first as a trailblazer in the sports business industry, then as an entrepreneur and most recently as an Assistant Professor of Sports Media at Ryerson University.
Laurel also spends a great deal of her time and energy outside the office in efforts to advance the careers of young women who are making their start. I asked Laurel some important questions about the role of women in business, and the role that she plays in advocating for other women in her life.