The New Year, the turn of the calendar page, sparks the desire to make changes for the better in our lives. Getting into better physical shape and/or losing weight usually top the list of resolutions; thus, the spike in January gym memberships.
For those who never joined, or have let their gym attendance lag, spring provides a second chance to shake off winter’s doldrums and the consequences of too many hours at one’s desk. The daylight hours are longer, the temperatures are warmer and the chance to spend time outdoors, savoring the sights and smells of a resurgent nature, will be big attractions to get out outdoors.
Let’s start with the easiest and cheapest: walking, which many fitness experts have argued is the best of all cardiovascular exercises. Studies have pointed out the life-shortening effects of a sedentary lifestyle, and Indiana University researchers found that for every hour that is spent sitting, all it takes is five minutes of walking to reverse the harmful consequences. Get good walking shoes and start simple and slow, around the neighborhood. Vary the route to avoid boredom and walk with friends to remain motivated.
Walkers can graduate to more difficult and longer hikes in parks and nature preserves that dot Long Island. Our many miles of beaches are also places to consider, and walking on the sand increases resistance. The Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference sponsors frequent hikes throughout the parks and trails.
For those who take up the challenge of jogging (and beyond that, competitive road racing), the Long Island Running Club offers not only the chance to train with knowledge people, but sponsors races of varying difficulty. As with walking, start slow and easy, and don’t push your body beyond its limits. Experts recommend that you get a physical exam before undertaking a regimen that includes intensive cardio activities.
Parks remain great sources for fitness opportunities. In addition to basketball and tennis courts, the larger ones offer golf. Eschew the cart and you can add walking to the enjoyment and challenges of the game. Many parks now offer exercise stations to work various muscle groups and help with flexibility.
For fans of competitive sports, all three towns in Nassau County sponsor softball, volleyball and basketball leagues.
For a list of adult sports leagues visit www.liathletics.com.
In addition swimming is one of the great exercises and our island has public pools galore and great beaches.
There are many benefits to getting outside and moving those muscles and bones. The first step is up to you.