The close of summer is quickly approaching, and far too many people have been sitting indoors and need to get out of the rut. As a Together CountsTM member, we’re always thinking of different activities for families. The best way to achieve energy balance is to step outside this summer and spend some more time with nature. Here are 10 great reasons why you should get outside and get active:
1. Vitamin D – Summer means there will be plenty of sunshine around and if you are someone who sits indoors for most of the day, then you are probably deficient in vitamin D. Go fill up your tank with tons of great vitamin D by spending summer in the great outdoors. Vitamin D can help in numerous ways: strengthens bones, strengthens immune system, decreases depression, prevents disease, and even increases lifespan.
2. Physical fitness – The best time of year to pick up a new sport is summer time. Get out and start jogging with the family, swimming, playing football in the park, or anything that gets your family moving. The small effort to be active this season will pay huge dividends for your healthy and active lifestyle, your weight, and how you feel overall.
3. Personal relationships – All of your friends are heading outdoors for the summer. It is the perfect time of year to rekindle relationships and build new ones by going out socializing. Group sports, camping, and beach-going are just a few ways to spend some quality time with friends under the sun.
4. Baseball season – America’s pastime is in full swing, and what better way to spend time outdoors than supporting your home team and going to a live game. Call some friends, and head down to your local ballpark where you can appreciate both your team and the amazing summer weather at the same time.
5. Vacation time – When you have been saving up that your precious days of vacation time, summer is a perfect excuse to use it. Take a few days off and head to a local state park where you can enjoy hiking, fishing, and biking. Better yet, sign up for that 5K or half marathon you have always wanted to do and take your vacation around that event.
6. Beaches and lakes are warm – The water is warming up and the sun is heating, which means it is time to head to the nearest water. Check out a lake nearby or head to the coasts. Both are a fun place to hang out in the summer. You will be happy you got yourself out of the house when you are waterskiing or swimming with all of your friends.
7. Better sleep – Getting outdoors and exercising or just being active will help burn some energy that will then result in a better night’s sleep once you are back home. It has been proven that people who spend more time outdoors sleep much more soundly than people who sit inside all day.
8. Increased oxygenation – Breathing in the fresh air actually has health benefits. When you spend time outdoors, it increases your body’s oxygenation and therefore your blood circulation. Better blood circulation results in more energy and increased mental awareness. So if you want to think more clearly, go outside and get some more blood pumping into your brain.
9. Relieve stress from the winter – A lot of people have been cooped up indoors throughout the winter and even spring time. Stress builds up and depression sinks in when you have been in a dark house for too long. When you go outside and take a breath of fresh air you will instantly feel less stress and have a happier outlook on the day.
10. Improved eyesight – Staring at a computer or TV takes a toll on your eyes and you can reverse those effects by spending time outdoors. When your eyes can focus on a large landscape instead of a small screen, it reduces their nearsightedness which is why most people need glasses.
SPARK is a research-based organization that provides award-winning, evidence-based programs for Physical Education (K-12), After School, Early Childhood, and Coordinated School Health and is a member of the Together Counts ProgramTM . Since 1989, SPARK has provided curriculum, training, and consultation to over 100,000 teachers and youth leaders worldwide. Visit www.sparkpe.org to download sample lesson plans, find grant opportunities, and register for free educational webinars and monthly eNewsletters.
For more summer activity ideas, check out more of the Together Counts program resources here: