EASTERN NIAGARA HEALTHLINES: Staying active during the summer

Bailey Lesniak

Summer is finally here. It’s time to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. As we all know, winter and the cold temperatures last a long time in Western New York, so when summer finally arrives, we want to take advantage of it. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic there are many ways to safely stay active, mentally and physically.

According to the American Heart Association these are some ways to remain active this summer.

Gardening. Is your backyard starting to look like a jungle? By cleaning it up and making it into a garden paradise, you are giving your body and your mind a healthy boost. You might not realize it, but transporting soil and mulch and digging out weeds will make you feel like you just hit the gym — all in the comfort of your own yard.

Bike, walk or run. These activities will clearly get you up and out of the house. You don’t have to locate a bike path, you can simply go around the block or walk in the comfort of your yard if you feel unsafe walking on your road. Grab a couple of neighbors or family members, keep a safe distance, and get active. It will make the time pass by faster!

Spring cleaning. Is your garage a big mess or do your doors need some maintenance? Now is the perfect time to tackle these long past due projects. By brainstorming how to organize or re-paint your door, you are keeping your mind active. Then by physically organizing the garage or painting/re-doing the door, you are keeping your body moving.

Read a book. Reading is a sedentary activity; however, it keeps your mind busy. While you’re outside staying active physically, there is always a need to take a break and recharge your battery. Reading can be the perfect way to do this; you are not straining your body physically, but are allowing your mind to remain active and fresh.

Water play. Along with summer comes the extreme heat and humidity, which can feel impossible to escape sometimes. The perfect solution is to incorporate water in your activities. For example, water balloon fights, slip n’ slides, swimming, running through sprinklers, etc. All provide a cool and refreshing break from the heat while you remain physically active. Additionally, water activities never get old; they are one of the most popular summer pastimes.

Hiking. This is a great way to get out of your house and neighborhood and get a nice cardio workout. It’s also an opportunity to marvel at the wonderful scenery. Hiking with family or a few friends is a great way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. The beautiful scenery is an added benefit you won’t regret.

Take advantage of the warm weather and safely connect with family and friends. Just make sure you are staying hydrated and wearing sunscreen, primarily when performing more extensive activities such as hiking and gardening.

Make a “to do” list of everything you want to accomplish around the house, and then make a list of fun summer activities you would like to take part in. Each day, reward yourself with one of the fun activities for completing a given number of house “chores.” Positive reinforcement will have you completing things around the house in an orderly and efficient manner so you can enjoy your summer as soon and as long as possible!

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, you can still make this summer one of your best and healthiest yet.

Eastern Niagara Healthlines is a special feature to the Lockport Union-Sun and Journal by Eastern Niagara Health System. Bailey Lesniak is a student at Keuka College and this summer’s intern at Eastern Niagara Hospital through the Grigg Lewis Foundation.

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