Exercise promotes good health, reduces stress, and releases mood-lifting endorphins. But many options are currently unavailable, as gyms are closed and activities are limited. The good news is, spring is here, and going outdoors is strongly encouraged.
In his article Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day, Dr. Asaf Bitton, executive director of Ariadne Labs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, explains, “Going outside will be important during these strange times, and the weather is improving. Go outside every day if you are able, but stay physically away from people outside your family or roommates.”
Here are 7 ideas to get outdoors, stay safe, and enjoy spring’s beauty without spending a thing.
- Backyard Sports.
Toss a football, shoot hoops, throw a softball, play frisbee. Dr. Bitton explains, “If you have kids, try playing a family soccer or basketball game instead of having your kids play with other kids, since sports often mean direct physical contact with others. Try not to use public facilities like playground structures, as coronavirus can live on plastic and metal for two to three days, and these structures aren’t getting regularly cleaned.”
If you have a flower garden, get out and work in it. The colorful beauty and sunshine will lift your spirits and relieve the feeling of being cooped up. Spring is the perfect time to divide many plants and expand your garden (or start a new bed) for free. Here are 10 Tips for Dividing Perennial Plants from Fine Gardening.
- Bird Watching.
According to the National Park Service, “Anyone can do birding anytime, anywhere. All it takes is an ID guide, some binoculars, and curiosity… When you start to take note of the birds around you, you might find yourself more curious and perceptive… Birding can be a gateway into recognizing and appreciating a wider world that was there all along.” (Source: Birding for Beginners)
Listen to bird songs and bird calls common in the U.S. collected by the American Bird Conservancy, then go out and see who pays you a visit.
- Bike riding.
Remember the simple freedom of riding your bike as a kid? You might be surprised how sweet that freedom tastes once you’ve been stuck at home for awhile.
- Kite Flying.
Spring is often accompanied by a few windy, blustery days, making it a great time to teach your kids how to fly a kite. There’s a real feeling of accomplishment for your child when she gets it to fly—and taking joy in the simple things is what it’s all about right now.
Lay out in the sunshine. Spread out a blanket, take off your shoes, and let the sunshine warm you inside and out. (Remember to apply sunblock.)
- Making Lemonade.
Let’s face it—we’re not used to slowing down like this. But past generations used to whip up a pitcher of lemonade and sit on the front porch or back patio and simply enjoy the beauty of the day. If you have sugar, water, ice, and lemon juice, you’ve got all you need.
Why not take a lesson from our great grandparents’ generation and start a new family tradition? Here’s a recipe for Old Fashioned Lemonade from All Recipes.
So head outdoors and enjoy the beauty that spring brings. If you pass others while you’re out, smile and say hello. Give them an encouraging greeting (after all, we’re all in this together.) Just be sure to maintain 6 feet of distance between yourself and non-family members, and make sure everyone washes hands often.