It is so nice to get out (mask on) and take a long walk in the morning. I take water with me and at least a bag of some sort. Gathering fallen fruit along the wayside keeps me engaged with the neighborhood. It’s nice to see what is ripening. This morning it was two kinds of apples and pears. Tree-ripened pears (opposed to the refrigerated-ripened store pears) are my favorite.
Stop by a small park in some neighborhood you don’t see every day. There will be a park bench or two. Quite often there are waist baskets. You can wash off the fruit you gathered with the water you brought and put the seeds in the waste bin. This activity will put you in contact with people you don’t see every day. It is refreshing to get out and see what curious and interesting things you’ll come across. Some people will be running or jogging, others might be roller skating or skateboarding, but you’ll be sure to meet at least one new acquaintance. And if you walk that way again, perhaps you’ll meet another time. Today I met a woman who takes care of her home-bound mother, and I also met a young couple. The woman had doubled her mask, which is probably good in crowded areas, such as waiting lines.
Helping your family find activities may start with what’s in your neighborhood or close enough to walk to. Take small steps; set goals that are easy to reach, such as walk around the block each night before bedtime. Your child will rest better having had an opportunity to wear off the last bit of energy, and hence, so will you. Some people do well to write down their goals. It doesn’t hurt to pair your activity goal with something else within budget, like serve a vegetable with dinner and walk with the family. Pick a target activity the whole family can work on together. Together-time is where it’s at. This time of sharing will be well worthwhile during your family walks (or bike rides or roller skating, etc.).
If you are new to a daily activity routine, you might want to review the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which provides recommendations on the amount, types, and levels of intensity of physical activity needed to achieve and maintain good health. Also, review the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, because what we eat and drink matters over time. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables–focus on whole fruits and vary your vegetables; make half your plate whole grains; move to low fat milk and yogurt (or non-fat); vary your proteins; and, drink and eat less sodium, saturated and trans fats, and added sugar. FoodHero.org is another good source for activities and dietary goals for the whole family.
If you’re stumped on finding activities, here’s a list of fun stuff: go for a bike ride; swim in the river or local pond; have you ever run in a race, now is a good time to start; perhaps you play tennis? Or how long has it been since you bought an adult-sized jump rope and jumped rope with you children? Some of us play on teams. If it’s baseball or horseshoes, standing six feet apart is easy. Engaging in aerobic exercise three times a week might be a good goal. Gardening is also an activity, as it takes multiple deep knee bends and stretching to get all the weeding done. It feels good after you exercise, so let’s just call it activity…it feels good to be active. Some people keep track of how many steps they take each day. You may be surprised and proud of how easy it will be to accomplish the goal and how relaxed you’ll be later for having been active. We wear off stress with our fun activities. Measuring your activity goals let’s you know how you did and teaches our children how to stay interested in what they are doing. Meeting your goals–keep it up or increase your target…next week let’s walk one and a half miles.
Activity doesn’t have to be anaerobic. Yoga is also relaxing; perhaps you can invite neighbors to enjoy yoga with you at your park? Morning, afternoon or evening, each of us has a preference and different working hours. But whatever your hours, take the bicycles to the Cascading Rivers Scenic Bikeway, or take the canoe or kayak down the exciting White Salmon River rapids, or drag the garden hose out to the rose garden, but do get out. It’s up to you to find those enjoyable hours within your week.