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10 Motivational Tips For When the Weather Outside is Frightful

Our lovely fall weather seems to be wasting away quickly into plain ol’ yucky rain and pre-winter crud. There is a good reason bears and other creatures go into hibernation during this kind of weather. To help you not fall into hibernation mode and to make the most of even the dreariest weather, we have come up with some great motivational tips to stick with your fitness regimen in the months to come.

  • Getting up out of your warm flannel sheets can be a bear when the house is cold. Set your programmable thermostat to heat up the house 15 minutes before you wake up so that you can get up and get going with one less excuse to hold you back. If your thermostat isn’t programmable, investing in a new one is just a few dollars and could just be the thing to keep you going through the winter…in addition to the energy savings you will see!
  • Set out all of your workout clothes, water bottle, and gear the night before. Pack your gym bag, set up your yoga mat, dumbbells, kettle balls, or Bosu ball so everything is ready to go and calling your name.
  • Write up a variety of messages on colorful slips of paper with reminders of how good your feel after a workout, pics of yourself at your fitness best, motivational quotes, or the many health benefits of working out. Whatever you know are YOUR greatest reasons for working out, jot those down. In the morning, pull one slip out at random and surprise yourself with your “Workout Inspiration of the Day”
  • If it is the cold weather that is keeping you inside, have your coziest hoodie waiting to go in the dryer and warm it up just before leaving the house for the gym.
  • Re-create morning sunlight with a Wake-up-light to help set your inner clock to get moving even when it is still dark these winter mornings. Setting your body clock to get going these dark mornings is a huge help.
  • Plan your workout breakfast the night before so you are less likely to cast about for something to eat in the morning. When you start off your day in “healthy mode” you are more likely to continue it by not skipping out on your workout.
  • The night before, check out a few workout videos on YouTube for some fresh inspiration. Just one new idea is all it takes to get you excited to try it out the next morning.
  • Get a workout buddy. Even if some days your schedules prevent you from working out together, just agreeing to a text check in and knowing your partner will be counting on you to also check in, will keep you both going strong.
  • Set up a fresh, new workout music playlist so that the next day you have new tunes to get you jazzed.
  • Print up a pic of a great holiday outfit you will reward yourself with, that awesome new bike, or the entry form for that spring triathlon or Tough Mudder race you have been meaning to enter. Keeping your eyes on the goal (literally) can keep up your motivation and focus

Whatever floats your boat (especially for you kayakers); learn to adopt the tricks and motivational tips that keep you in the game and on top of your workouts these dark, cold months ahead. Let us know what motivational tricks work for you!

Featured photo credit Wikipedia Commons.

5 ways to age better than your father did

By Kia Zarezadeh, Sponsor contributor from HealthwaysFIT.com (Silver Sneakers)

Most of us grew up idolizing our fathers. It wasn’t just in our nature; Dad was stronger, smarter and had more know-how than we ever did. It might seem like sacrilege to suggest you  can live better than dad did. But one way to top pop is by living a longer and healthier life. Here’s five ways to age better than your father did…

Ditch diabetes

About 25 percent of Americans 60 or older live with type 2 diabetes, so there’s a good chance your father has or had diabetes. The good news is you can eliminate most risk factors by taking better care of your body. Most people with type 2 diabetes are obese, so aim to keep your body fat lower than dear old dad’s. Focus on eating nutritious, low-fat, minimally processed foods that are moderate in calories. This is especially important if you’re a woman: Weight gained after menopause can put you at even higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Avoid arthritis

Like diabetes, arthritis carries a hereditary risk. But that doesn’t mean you have to grin and bear it like Dad. Rest, combined with a healthy weight and a nutritious diet, can help reduce the severity of arthritis symptoms. And, though it might sound contradictory to dad’s advice, exercise is great for reducing joint pain associated with arthritis. That’s because building muscles around your aching joints takes the pressure off those joints.

Photo source: Wikipedia Commons.

Photo source: Wikipedia Commons.

Take care of your ticker

Heart attacks unfortunately cost many of us a few extra years with our fathers. But heart health has come a long way in the past few decades. Now we know exercise and the types of food you eat can greatly reduce heart disease risk. When it comes to food, do better than dad and look for recipes designed to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. As for working that heart muscle into an invincible piston, try aerobic exercises that raise your heart rate while helping you burn fat.

Defeat dementia

Dementia is a bit trickier than other health problems that may have impacted your father as he aged. Not much is known about diseases like Alzheimer’s, but what we do know is leagues beyond the information available just a few decades ago. The latest research suggests everyday activities, such as walking, can help protect your memory. Of course, in addition to working your body, you should work your brain. From crossword puzzles to online games, people today intentionally are working their minds  stay sharp.

Prevent falls

How many times have you seen an accidental fall devastate the life of an otherwise strong and capable father? Of course, you can’t stop accidents from happening. But powerful core muscles and good balance can cut your chances of taking a spill. Plus, they actually can reduce the severity of injuries you suffer when you do fall. Recovery time is greatly improved in people with fitter bodies. And here’s something we’re pretty sure your dad never dreamed of doing to help prevent falls: video games. New research suggests video games can boost your balance, rejuvenate the brain and even lift your mood.

A Perspective on Yoga from Live Love Flow

By Jaime Scates Schmitz from LiveLoveFlowYoga.com

When Tony first asked me to do a piece for FitAfterFifty.com I was reticent: #1, I’m not 50 or even that close and #2, I cringe a bit whenever someone refers to me as a fitness guru . . . I am not.

In response to #1, I thought ‘What the heck do I know about being fit after fifty?’ And in response to #2, barring a car falling on my child, you will probably never see me lift a heavy thing.

I pushed through resistance item #1 when I thought of my amazing parents and my cute mom, who while still vital, attractive and lovely, is seeing her body wear down. Then I thought of my friend, student and current teacher-trainee, Nancy Richards, who at 64 moves like a 30-year-old in yoga, crushes it on the spin bike, hikes, bikes and skis. WOW. I’ll take that.

I pushed through resistance item #2 because I LOVE yoga (yes it’s a work out, but at its core it’s a spiritual practice of which the work-out is a tiny portion). I’m also happy to ride indoors to stay conditioned for mountain biking (my second greatest love behind yoga) and I believe all of the research about intense cardiovascular exercise increasing HGH, endorphins, serotonin etc. – I’ll take all of that because there’s nothing that I love more than feeling AMAZING.

As soon as Tony and I started the interview I knew it was a great idea. It was an opportunity to talk about my passions to a new audience.

Watch the interview here:

Yoga

Yoga is amazing for EVERYBODY. It’s especially amazing for bodies that want to age gracefully. In yoga, we move through our entire range of motion and all of our little accessory (rarely used) muscles. We also work tremendously hard on the core, which protects and lengthens the spine. Flexibility and balance are two of the first pieces of athleticism and health that people lose as they age, and yoga helps to improve those areas as well.

We spend a lot of time upside down in down-dog, forward-folds and inversions. These poses have amazing benefits to calming the parasympathetic nervous system and they are officially working against gravity – take that sagging skin! We do work incredibly hard, doing a lot of lunges, chattaranga pushups, side planks etc. We are using our own body weight to build bone density, which is another must for people over fifty!

Photo credit: Pixabay

Photo credit: Pixabay

So that’s just a tiny list of the health benefits of yoga. But my favorite thing about yoga in its ability to invite people to age gracefully is simply the fluidity and grace we introduce.

We hold so much tension and density in our bodies because it gives us the illusion of control. We also hold all of our pain, failure, drama and trauma as little energy nodules in the body called samskaras.

Everything in the universe, including humans, flows in an energetic pattern called a tube torus. When the tube torus is open and flowing freely we are clean, clear, bright, free and alive. In nature we can see examples of clean energy patterns flowing together. Nature balances, syncs, synergizes and coalesces with itself. We are intended to synergize in the same way and our tube torus is supposed to flow freely.

Sadly, due to all of the density, tension and samskaras we hold in our bodies (as well as a lot of external influences from the electromagnetic soup we swim in and the SAD – standard American diet) our energetic patterns are generally not flowing properly. We can see in the high rates of addiction that are currently in existence (I just read that while only 10 percent of Americans are truly addicted to alcohol, a full 30 percent are alcohol-dependent). Other examples include depression, numbing with the dumbing of American TV, the acceptance of hard-core violence and soft-core porn into our living rooms every night (not mine!), environmental degradation, poverty, famine, the sex trade of children, war, genetically modified food, disease etc. By all of these things, we see that we are clearly NOT syncing with nature in the way that was our birthright, in the way spirit intended for us.

In yoga, we move through our entire energetic sphere with grace and fluidity. When we do this with a burning desire to connect to consciousness, to cleanse our habits and our patterns, to free ourselves from our rigidity, to move higher, we just might make a little progress in that 60 – 75 minutes on our mats.

There’s something about moving with fluidity and grace, the way we do in yoga that also breaks down linear thinking. It helps us confuse the mind, move in a circle, play. Einstein said, “Confusion is the brink of discovery.” When we’re confused, doing something new, and pushing our edges we create new neural pathways (we’re pretty addicted to the ones we always use, and most of those stories aren’t so pleasant). So get a little lost, get a little confused, try something new, change your brain and explore that brink of discovery!

If we all work hard on cleaning up our own energy, elevating our own vibration, bringing ourselves into greater alignment and higher consciousness, then sooner or later that nasty list from above will start to shrink and lose it’s hold over humanity.

Life-Long Learning #2: Live Like It’s Your Only

By Lynn Turcotte-Schuh

At 35 years of age, I know I am a young contributor for a group called Fit After Fifty – but I hope I can inspire you with my perspective. “Life-Long Learning” is a collection of thoughts I have been filing away while watching the generation before me. One of the most important things I have learned about growing older is that…

View from the top, mountain hike, Lake Tahoe, CA.

View from the top, mountain hike, Lake Tahoe, CA.

#2: You need to live each day like it’s your only. (Click here to check out lesson #1)

I know the saying is, “live each day like it’s your last”; but to me, that evokes too much melancholy. It makes you think of all the things you will be losing and makes it difficult to stay in the moment. I have re-worded the phrase to something much more positive and hopeful. “Live each day like it’s your only.” If you only ever had one day to live, you would do things very differently. Here is my list:

  • I would not be bothered by the little things that go wrong, instead I would be grateful to be having experiences and would take joy in the mundane.
  • I would surround myself with people who brought a positive energy and light into my environment rather than allowing someone to drain me or bring me down.
  • I would have appreciation and gratitude for every moment and I would make sure that I spent those moments with the people that mean the most to me, doing the things that mean the most to me.
  • I would care for my body to the best of my ability to show reverence for the amazing self that I am.
  • I would dare to go outside the box and try something that frightened me a bit. I’m not talking sky diving here, but maybe striking up a conversation with someone new.
  • I would hug a little longer, kiss a bit more often, and hold my baby as tight as she would allow for as long as she would allow.
  • I would laugh, really hard, as many times as I could.
  • I would say “thank you” to the universe for giving me this one, perfect, amazing day.

Luckily for us, we don’t have only one day to live – we have a whole lifetime. Whether that lifetime lasts for 20 years or 90, would it really matter if we lived each of our days as if it were our only?

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 10.59.37 AMLynn Turcotte-Schuh lives with her family in Voluntown, CT on 14 acres of beautiful nature.  She was certified as a Health Coach in July of 2011 through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  She is a member of the International Association of Health Coaches and the American Academy of Drugless Practitioners as well as a Team Member at Nutrisults, a company poised to help people age gracefully. 

In 2013, Lynn founded Happy Mama Wellness – an organization whose mission is to help parents model healthy behaviors in all areas of life so that our children can be the next generation of leaders in the wellness revolution.

Michelle Boyd’s Story of Overcoming Obesity

2013 is the year I lost 92 lbs. on a rigid low calorie diet and Omnitrition supplements. 2014 is the year I decided to get physical.

BEFORE

BEFORE

I’ve been a morbidly obese woman my entire adult life. I did not do any exercise except for swimming. I had long been in denial of my poor physical health. My idea of exercise was to park in the second row at Walmart. I had severe knee problems and difficulty going up and down stairs. In addition to suffering from Fibromyalgia, arthritis, and daily migraines; my most debilitating “illness” was my negative self image about the obesity. I saw someone who would never be loved or accepted. I never looked in full length mirrors, hated shopping because I had to buy huge clothes to fit my bust and thighs, leading me to special Plus-Sized shops. I even gave up wearing makeup. My self-hatred festered over and over as negative experiences replayed in my mind and self-hate verbiage constantly played.

In 2013, an opportunity to care for a terminally ill friend changed my life. Prior to her death, we shared a special moment in my truck as we took in the view of the beach. She was wheelchair-bound and commented that she really missed walking, hiking, and camping. That year, I lost 92 lbs. on the Omnitrition nutrition plan and went from a size 28 (XXXL) to size 12/14.

Even though my measurements completely changed, I still saw myself the way I used to be. Something needed to change.

In January 2014, our conversation kept playing over and over. I decided it was ridiculous that I wasn’t doing anything physical or healthy. So I challenged myself one day at Redondo Boardwalk. I learned that it was approximately 1/2 mile long. My first walk took over 40 minutes on a casual walk. The next day I decided to try 2 miles, which took over an hour. Two days later I increased it to 3 miles.

After a couple months of walking 3 miles 2-3 times per week, I noticed 3 miles did not make any difference in my body. So I pushed it up to 5 miles, 4-5 times per week. I really pushed that last mile and my legs were really sore. . After a couple months, I decided to try to jog 1 mile very slowly, to protect my knees. Success! Now I jog with my knee braces to provide extra strength.

Michelle Boyd after

AFTER

I’ve strengthened my knees up to 3 miles jogging and 2 miles walking. My walking stance is short so it takes more steps to complete a mile. But I am determined now to get my 5 miles in each day. I’ve had issues with blisters and sore feet, which have impacted my consistency, but good footwear is now making the difference.

I can walk 5-7 miles without pain. I can walk upstairs like a normal person. It is not a speedy process, but when I do it, I feel better about me. When my knees hurt, I wear the braces and I still try.

The most astounding change occurred last week when I registered for my first 5K for brain tumor research in July in Portland OR. 5K is just a little over 3 miles and I know I can do it!

I am not giving up and I refuse to listen to 35 years of self-hate tapes. I look forward to walking to clear my head, making positive affirmations, and changing my mindset. I never would’ve believed this was possible. If I can do this, so can you!

Congrats, Michelle! And thank you for sharing your story with the Fit After Fifty community!

Building Balance – Things to Do to Improve Your Stability

Yet one more issue to add to the list of things that can creep up on us as we age: balance. While balance issues are commonly associated with the aging process, it is not a given that we should just throw in the towel and shrug it off as inevitable.

It is important to understand the factors that affect balance as well as learning what you can to minimize balance issues and even re-gain lost balance to improve your stability.

globegiftastic__1290404257_7250Balance requires the interaction between your inner ear, your vision, and the muscles and joints from your feet up through your spine.  The brain processes the information transmitted from each of these areas and gives your body the information needed to manage balance.  When all three are working well, you have a good sense of your spatial positioning.

The aging process causes loss of muscle mass, overall strength, fading eyesight, and the decline of inner ear functioning. When one or all three of these areas are degenerating, your brain signals are thrown off and balance is adversely affected.

It stands to reason that improving muscle mass and practicing balance exercises can not only arrest further balance loss, but even re-gain levels of balance already sacrificed.

The foremost predictor of frailty in old age is a weak quadricep or thigh muscle. Daily squats and balance exercises can all make a significant difference to your balance.

General strength training helps to maintain Type II muscle fibers, the muscles that are needed to help us shift our weight to prevent falls.

Here are some foundational balance exercises to get you on the road to re-gaining loss balance and also reducing any more loss in your balance.

  1. Any core building exercises such as planks and bridging.
  2. General weight training or resistance-band workouts.
  3. Walking with one foot directly in front of the other and standing on one foot are two exercises that can be done daily while brushing your teeth!
  4. Bosu ball exercises to build dynamic balance.

Remember that a vital, healthy life includes confidence and strength for fun, new adventures ahead.  Maintaining and building good balance is the place to start.

Psychological Benefits of Fitness After Fifty

As we reach our ‘next fifty’, physical activity and exercise become more and more vital for our health, length, and quality of life. Consistent exercise and a healthy diet do more than just strengthen muscles and improve our ability to be physically active, however – there are lots of mental and psychological benefits of fitness after fifty…

Exercising helps to trigger endorphins, which help you to manage your anxiety and stress levels and overall, improves your mood. Regular physical activity can also lessen feelings and symptom of depression. According to a study done in the state of Michigan, “Physical activity has consistently been shown to have positive effects on various measures of mental health. Most well-documented are the effects of aerobic exercise in improving depression, reducing anxiety and improving mood.”

old man exercising

Photo from here, labeled for reuse.

In addition to the more short term benefits of fitness after fifty, for your emotional health and happiness, your long-term mental health is aided through consistent exercise. Your ability to multi-task, plan, problem-solve and master other forms of cognitive function (including memory) can be stimulated and enhanced by consistent exercise.

“There’s a lot you can do to prevent cognitive decline, or slow it down, or recover memory function that you might feel you have lost,” according to Dr. John Ratey, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. The areas of your brain that are related to memory function are stimulated through exercise, creating a chemical (brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF) that re-wires your memory pathways to make them function more efficiently.

In his book Brain Rules, John Medina notes that aerobic exercise just twice a week halves your risk of general dementia. It cuts your risk of Alzheimer’s by 60 percent. He concludes that to improve our thinking skills at ant age we need to move… a lot.

According to the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation, many recent studies have proven that most of the things that we do to maintain our physical health also benefit our mental health. Exercise helps our memory and mental ability, prevents dementia, improves our mood and energy levels – all by decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol, improving heart health and mobility, and more.

In what ways have you found exercise and fitness to benefit your mental and emotional health? Please share your experience with the Fit After Fifty Facebook community!

Family Fitness Ideas for National Physical Fitness & Sports Month

Have you heard? May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month! Across the nation, sports and fitness organizations are raising awareness about the benefits of fitness. Fit After Fifty promotes physical activity year-round – albeit for a 50-plus audience – so why not join in on the fun?

Let’s take the fitness after fifty concept to the whole family, with some family fitness ideas and activities to try this month…

PLAY TOGETHER

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Time and time again in my book, Fit After Fifty, people said that fun had to be part of fitness. Otherwise, it’s nearly impossible to make it a part of your routine and you will not end up exercising. So, for National Physical Fitness and Sports month, get your children and grandkids together for a pickup game of softball in the park, kickball in the backyard, flag football at a local school, or even a Family Olympics event! Childhood games like tag can be a lot of fun, too. You’ll enjoy spending time with your loved ones, and you all will benefit from the physical activity and exercise. (Click here for some specific ideas for exercising as a family).

PLAN TOGETHER

Coordinate with your family members to challenge each other to get fit and be active. This is one way for your family to participate in National Physical Fitness & Sports Month – particularly if they are spread out across the country. Put together family health goals that you all plan to work toward together or individually, share healthy recipes (so you can eat the same thing even if you can’t sit at the same table), and communicate regularly to keep the fun going. Have each family member select a sport or exercise that they love, and as a family, do each person’s favorite activity at least once throughout the month.

CHALLENGE EACH OTHER

Hiking challenges – such as mounting a certain peak or reaching a certain distance – cycling races, run/walk race events, and other more organized fitness challenges can be a lot of fun to do as a family group. And, if you train together along the way to prepare for the big event, you have a much better chance of accomplishing or surpassing your goals! Even if you aren’t participating as a family in an organized fitness event, you can still encourage and challenge each other to reach personal goals in fitness and health. Support from loved ones is incredibly motivational.

Remember to keep each other safe and practice appropriate stretching and drink plenty of water as you get fit as a family for National Physical Fitness and Sports month!

In what ways do you like to get active and exercise with your family members? Share your family fitness tips and ideas on our Facebook page, or contact us to share your family’s fitness story.

Stronger on the Slopes, and Beyond!

By Debora Robinett 

I began attending The Bar Method Seattle-Redmond classes in November 2011, shortly after the SLU studio opened. I noticed many changes and improvements in my body within the first few months.

Debora at Whistler.

Debora at Whistler.

After a year, in December 2012, I wrote a brief testimonial about the changes in my skiing ability/strength.

“As a downhill skier for 44 years, I usually dread the day after the first ski day of the season. I don’t any longer. Despite years of aerobics, strength training, yoga, Pilates, competitive cycling, ballet, skating, running and just about every other sport known, one year of The Bar Method has left my entire body stronger than any other exercise regime, even with a torn ACL. Not only am I stronger on the slopes, but my core strength has supported my balance, upper and lower body endurance, faster recovery and joy for the sport. Thanks to all of my instructors for a superior ski season workout!”

Around the same time, my boyfriend had this to say…

“Snow skiing centers around several movements including edging, turning, and pressuring movements that are used to maintain balance while gliding down the mountain. Working out at The Bar Method adds to a skier’s strength and agility, thus improving the efficiency of these movements. When Deb started Bar Method classes a year ago, she already was a good skier. However, Bar Method has not only improved her endurance, it has enhanced her ability to adjust these movements more quickly while skiing more efficiently. Her agility has improved, allowing her the ability to adapt quickly to varied terrain, steepness, and snow conditions. Most importantly, her recovery time after skiing is minimal. The Bar Method is an excellent regimen for getting in shape, for skiing plus improving your overall core strength.”

– Joseph Claeys Level III Certification-Professional Ski Instructors Association

Then a year later, at my two-year, 400 class mark, I reflected further…

gc1“Saturday, November 16th, 2013 marks my 400th Bar Method class in just under two years at the South Lake Union Seattle & Redmond Bar Method Studios. What an amazing, challenging, body sculpting, muscle strengthening workout. Even years of ballet, aerobics, yoga, weight lifting, Pilates, skating, both competitive cycling & running couldn’t give me the results of these one-hour sessions. So what have I noticed in the past two years? Within the first few months of Bar Method, I noticed that I had dropped a full pant size as my muscle memory returned and the fat melted away. I’ve been a registered dietitian for 35 years, so my diet has always been pristine and I made no changes to it as I began Bar Method. As a downhill skier for 44 years, I usually dreaded the day after the first ski day of the season. I didn’t in the 2011 or 2012 seasons … I am also an avid golfer and noticed that my distance and accuracy improved such that my handicap was lower in the spring than any other start to golf season. Lastly, (and most importantly to me as a woman who is one year shy of her 60th birthday) are the overall anti-aging benefits of Bar Method. My personal physician remarked in 2012 how nicely my Human Growth Hormone (HGH) levels were in comparison to the previous five years. Add another year of Bar Method to my life and my levels are even higher. For all of you Baby Boomers, naturally produced Human Growth Hormone is considered the anti-aging, fountain of youth hormone. I’m old enough to be many of my fellow students’ mother but my energy, endurance and strength is that of a much younger woman. Who doesn’t want to get younger with each passing year? So thank you to owners, Luke, Bev and Maika, all of my dedicated motivational instructors and fellow Bar Method friends who have kept me coming back to Bar Method the last 400 times.”

I’ll be 60 in January 2015 so like Tony here at Fit After Fifty, I agree that exercise (and nutrition and good genes) directs biological age, which is more important than chronological age!

Eco-Friendly Exercise for Earth Day

Earth Day is here. People across the world are getting out in their gardens, volunteering in their communities, and working to make our planet a better place. We suggest you take your fitness regimen outside for Earth Day, and enjoy the beautiful place in which you live.

“We’re spoiled here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Though we have quite the amount of grey-ish days and drizzle, when the sun graces us with its presence, it’s pretty hard to beat. Today, I’m planning to get outside to hit some golf balls. Yes, there’s a 70% chance of rain, but I don’t think I’ll melt. What are your plans for Earth Day?” – Tony

Here are some fun exercises and ideas for Earth Day:

  1. Go Hiking. Gather some friends or family, trail mix, sturdy shoes and plenty of water, and go to your local trailhead for some hiking. As you go, you can enjoy beautiful natural scenery, breathe the fresh, clean air, and appreciate the rustic environment. If you live in an area without hills or mountains for hiking, go on a nature power-walk instead.

    Photo credit: Flickr user glaciernps

    Photo credit: Flickr user glaciernps

  2. Go Eco-Running. For Earth Day, ditch the treadmill and head outside for a run or walk around your neighborhood or town. Make it an eco-run or walk by bringing a garbage bag along to pick up trash along the way – get your friends and neighbors involved to make it a health- and eco-conscious community event.

    Photo credit: ecologyrunner.com

    Photo credit: ecologyrunner.com

  3. Go Swimming. If the weather is warm enough where you live, head to a nearby lake, coastal beach, or outdoor pool for some swimming. Or, try your hand at paddleboarding for a fun upper-body workout.

    Photo credit: Flickr user Mary Fairchild

    Photo credit: Flickr user Mary Fairchild

  4. Go on Wheels. Dust off your bicycle or pull out your rollerblades (in-line skates) for an energetic ride. Both activities engage a lot of muscles and exercise your cardiovascular system for a healthy, outdoor workout. Be sure to wear a helmet and other protective gear.

    Photo credit: Think Stock

    Photo credit: Think Stock

  5. Go Volunteer. Many communities and neighborhoods across the U.S. have scheduled Earth Day activities and volunteer opportunities. Go join in, but insert fitness focus: If you are planting trees, do lunges as you carry the trees. If you’re helping to clean up trash, speed walk from place to place.

Whatever your exercise routine today consists of, do it outside! Head to a local park with your yoga mat to do your yoga or pilates for the day, and use park benches for your calisthenics (sit-ups, lunges, etc.).

How are you celebrating Earth Day and personal health? Share it with us!