Spring is the perfect time to commit to heart-healthy activities. As the weather improves, bringing a refreshing dose of flora and fauna, the outdoors can become your personal gym. No longer stuck indoors to avoid cold temperatures and gray skies, you might take the opportunity to enjoy the following activities while supporting your heart's health.
1. Take up a sport
You don't have to become a professional soccer player to be athletically inclined. Simply visiting the batting cages or throwing around a disc can count as participating in sports. Everything from the basic horseshoe toss to learning to golf can count as helpful exercise.
"Being physically active is important to prevent heart disease and stroke," according to the American Heart Association. "Physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burn calories."
When was the last time you went swimming? Whether you visit your local outdoor pool or, if weather doesn't permit swimming yet, the nearest indoor pool, swimming can help you keep your heart healthy.
Swimming is a total-body, nonimpact sport that can be beneficial to your heart, as described by prevention.com. "The more muscles involved in an activity, the harder your heart must work to fuel them all, thus, it grows stronger itself."
3. Play with your kids
The best exercise happens when you are having fun. Take a moment to shoot hoops with your children, play tag, visit the park or have a water balloon fight when it is warm enough. Not only will your heart thank you for this time, but your kids will as well.
Between pulling weeds, kneeling to take care of budding flowers, hauling any after-winter waste and mowing your lawn, gardening is a classic springtime workout. For inspiration, visit your local nursery or garden center to stock up on tools and springtime plants. Items such as a mat for kneeling on and a wide-brimmed hat can help keep you comfortable during this fruitful workout.
Thankfully, setting up an afternoon of biking can be easy. Whether you own a bike or rent one, your outing can be arranged without much difficulty. Remember to choose a route that matches your skill level. You don't want to find yourself at the bottom of a large hill without the ability to pedal to the top.
"Dancing your way to heart health makes for a rhythmic and aerobic exercise routine. All you need is good footwear, some space and music that motivates you," according to an article on Everyday Health.
Attending an outdoor concert, a family wedding or a dance event could help support keeping your heart fit.
Hiking takes a bit more planning than your general neighborhood stroll. However, benefits such as picturesque scenery and the fresh outdoors can outweigh the hassle. Don't forget to choose a safe route that is appropriate to your fitness level and pack essentials, such as water.
8. Spring clean
Could your garage use a thorough cleaning? All the scrubbing, organizing, sweeping, and lifting could work up quite a sweat. If you participate in an annual spring cleaning of your home, don't forget to include the garage and yard.
Any diligent shopper knows that a decent shopping trip combines walking with weight training. As you walk down the outdoor shopping center, take pride knowing that your brisk pace and constant lifting of heavy bags is helpful for your heart, if not your wallet.
"The simplest, positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health is to start walking," says the American Heart Association.
In addition, prevention.com describes weight training as one of the best exercises for your heart.
10. Bake cookies
For your neighbors, that is. When all else fails and you don't feel like traveling a great distance, whip up a batch of something sweet and hand-deliver them to your neighboring friends. You may just find that walking door to door and scaling the front steps can give you a workout.
Remember to keep any exercise and activity at an appropriate level for your health and fitness. You should consult your doctor BEFORE YOU START ANY EXERCISE ROUTINE. Doing your research and asking your doctor about your individual situation is part of keeping your heart healthy in the long term.