It's official; Spring is here! In case you missed its arrival, Spring officially started on Saturday, despite the fact that it snowed pretty heavily during the early afternoon hours. But, with the mild winter we received, precipitation is much needed, so bring on the rain and, maybe, some snow. Even with the storms of rain and snow that generally come with Spring, the days are noticeably warming and the daylight hours continue to increase.
With the days gradually getting warmer, it is a great opportunity to get outside, enjoy nature and get our physical activity levels up. Being outside will also expose you to fresh air and natural light and sunlight, which can help boost your mood, lower stress levels, and provide essential nutrients, like vitamin D.
As a nation, we are not moving enough. Only half of us are getting the necessary physical activity levels. Not getting enough physical activity can raise a person’s risk for certain diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. On the other hand, the benefits from getting the recommended physical activity are many. Besides lowering your risk for the diseases mentioned, adequate exercise can also improve your sleep, cognitive abilities, and bone and musculoskeletal health (CDC).
With the positive benefits greatly outweighing the negative benefits of not getting enough physical activity, then why, as a nation, are we not getting enough? Time is usually a big contributing factor. With work, school, children, and other obligations, sometimes exercise can take a backseat. Most of the time, however, it is because we choose to do something else. At the end of a long day, you may be tempted to turn on the TV in an attempt to unwind. But, if instead of turning on the television, you choose to take a 20-30 minute walk, you may be offering your body much more health benefits such as, reducing stress and anxiety, boosting your mood, and improving the quality of your sleep (Annual Reviews).
Luckily, here in Cache Valley, we have ample opportunity to enjoy nature and receive our daily dose of physical activity. We have plenty of parks for children and grownups to take advantage of. Grab a ball or a Frisbee and get the whole family involved with outdoor games. Take a walk or run on the Logan Riverwalk Trail, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, or through USU's beautiful campus. It might be too early for some of our hiking trails, but take advantage, this spring and summer, of the many hiking trails found in any of the canyons surrounding Cache Valley.
Let us all make a goal this Spring Season to take advantage of our beautiful valley while also raising our physical activity levels. Click on this CDC link to see how much physical activity has been recommended per age group. Let's get outside for a nice walk or run, play games with our children in the parks, and just enjoy nature.