Havre, Montana – Summertime in Northern Montana means longer days, abundant sunshine and lots of time spent outside. For those folks that try and maintain a regular fitness regime, summer means many more options for fitness. Thinking about adding regular exercise into your lifestyle? Then summer is a great time to start.
Adding fitness into your life adds years also. A study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has concluded that moderate amounts of exercise can extend a person’s life expectancy by up to 4 1/2 years, regardless of their weight. While cold weather has us turn to the gym to stay fit, warmer weather adds many more activities to the list of options.
“Make a plan for yourself.” says Anita Kellam, DNP, FNP, of Northern Montana Health Care. “If you jot down a list of activities that you enjoy, you can add them onto your calendar, and then you will have a schedule to follow. Try and shoot for five days of activities per week. And don’t forget weekends; sometimes those are the best days as we tend to spend time with others then. And never underestimate the power of the exercise buddy!”
Walking, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, soccer, running, horseback riding, basketball, baseball and old-fashioned yard games are a great place to start. It’s no coincidence that many of these activities can be enjoyable for the whole family. Stage a “Family Olympics” and earn that gold medal in Jump Roping that you’ve always yearned for. Plan an evening stroll with your best friend and spend the time catching up with each other. Camping trips are an ideal time to gather the kids and try a new hiking or mountain biking path.
But don’t forget the essential tips for safety and health when exercising outdoors. “Staying hydrated is even more important when you’re outside. Not only can you become dehydrated, but your body’s electrolytes and salt can be depleted faster when sweating. Take a drink every 15 minutes, even when you’re not thirsty. Wear loose, light-colored clothing. The lighter color will help reflect heat, and cotton material will help the evaporation of sweat. You may also want to try specially designed, “hi-tech” running shirts and shorts. They are often made from material meant to keep you cool. Make sure to wear sunscreen always, and insect repellant when necessary.” Adds Anita. “And most important of all, listen to your body. Stop immediately if you begin to feel dizzy, faint or nauseous.”
Regular exercise can help you control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, and strengthen your bones and muscles. But if you haven’t exercised for some time and you have health concerns, you may want to consult your primary care provider before starting a new exercise routine.