We are heading into the long weekend here in Newfoundland and Labrador. On the east coast of the island where I live, the forecast is calling for snow flurries on Monday the 24.
Now I’m not expecting that much snow as seen in the gif above, but we can get a couple of inches in the spring. An old folk cure recommends collecting May snow as it is good for sore eyes.
One thing I do know: May snow isn’t good for soothing sore muscles. However, I expect to get a couple of workouts in as we tidy the garden, and as I have managed to keep up my twice weekly workouts, I’m not expecting them to complain too much. This year’s spring cleanup is later than usual because I read a number of articles recommending we leave the grass undisturbed to encourage useful insects and wildlife.
I know lots of other places in North America are further ahead on the greening spring front, but this is as good a time as any to remember outside work is functional fitness too. The American Heart Association considers gardening moderate in terms of impact, and there’s lots of other benefits too.
The lovely crowd at Michigan State University have a a great resource on their website. The authors say gardening offers a range of physical activity, from pulling weeds to digging new beds. They suggest mixing up activities — try 15 minutes of weeding with 15 minutes of raking or 15 minutes of bagging garbage.
Being outside also means you can help rewire your brain. Fresh air, blue sky ( we will get some before the snow!) and happy trails all add up to some gentle low impact walking or higher impact running or jogging opportunities.
Quite a number of places are offering group walks engaged in forest bathing. Originating in Japan, forest bathing is all about experiencing nature through all senses. It offers comfort, helps you relax, and supports calmness and serenity by connecting you with the natural world. One of my favourite parts of being in the woods is taking time to notice all the tiny things, and some of the big things that winter has wrought.
If you still feel the need to be more active outside, you may want to build in some plogging while you are out on the trails or sidelwalks. A Swedish concept, plogging refers to the practice of cleaning up while walking or jogging. I wrote about plogging here a couple of years ago.
More and more often now, people are toting garbage bags, gloves, garbage picker, and recyling bags to collect trash along their walking routes. Sadly, you can fill a garbage bag in less than half an hour (don’t get me started on all the discarded paper masks blowing around!). Nonetheless, plogging helps you get a good walk in, vary your activities, and helps clean the planet.
I might not be pitching a tent this weekend, but I will still make time to get outside and enjoy the natural, green spaces around me. What’s on your fitness agenda this long weekend? Share in the comments. We love hearing from you.