The month of April is wrapping up. Spring is definitely trending towards summer, though in good Texas tradition – we got a little flash of “winter” last week as well. You may have celebrated Earth Day on the 22nd, or Arbor Day on the 26th. In keeping with the environmental theme of April – here are some suggestions about how to be eco-friendly as you also tend to your own body’s healthy habitat.
–Getting outdoors is healthful in and of itself. Natural light can help to regulate sleep patterns and mood. Fresh air feels good and can be an aid in stress reduction. Being aware of the phase of the moon and of the movement of the constellations helps to tune us in to the changing of the seasons and some of the innate patterns of human existence. Get outside and just breathe – you’re likely to feel better for it!
— Central Austin’s weather permits exercise year around, and the great outdoors provides the opportunity to accomplish all forms of activity – potentially targeting aerobics, strength, flexibility, or balance and agility. Consider using some outdoor features for your next workout. Walk or jog a hill. Do step-ups or lunges to and from a plantar box’s edge. Try some push-ups or tricep dips on the back of a park bench. Find out if your local park or school has a “parcourse” – stations with outdoor exercise equipment for sit-ups, stretching, etc. Or make up your own obstacle or agility course by zig-zagging between trees, or hopping back and forth over a stone pathway. (If you’re looking for a specific example of an Earth Day Workout – check out this High Intensity Interval Training option posted by the 12 Minute Athlete.)
–Consider ditching your automobile for your daily commute, or perhaps for some of your errands. Adding a walk or a bike ride to and from your local market or your favorite coffee house can give you an aerobic workout as well as put you into contact with more of your neighbors. If you choose to take your dog along on these outings, you might also make some new animal friends. Tossing a ball or a Frisbee with your pet mate is another easy way to add fitness to your day.
–Start using reusable water bottles during exercise and other outdoor activity. Limiting the quantity of plastic bottles in our landfills would make a significant positive impact on our local environments. According to iSustainableEarth, Americans use over 50 billion plastic bottles each year, and only manage to recycle about 23% of them! The plastic that ends up in the trash then takes more than 1000 years to degrade. Reusable water bottles also have the health advantage of being “BPA free”. BPA – an industrial chemical utilized in the manufacturing of plastic – is a health concern because of its possible effects on blood pressure and on the development of some organs in infants and young children. Here is an example of a currently popular reusable beverage container.
–Consider making your own energy drinks. It’s not only water bottles that are packaged in plastic. Gatorade and other popular sports drinks are also frequently consumed from plastic containers. Now that you’ve invested in a reusable bottle, take the opportunity to experiment with healthful beverages that can complement your work outs, and also possibly benefit local veggie growers and/or regional organic farmers. Here is one recipe example for Electric Green Limeade.
However you choose to participate in the infinite opportunities presented by the Great Outdoors – we hope that you enjoy! As Charles Dickens has said, “Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own.”