National Nutrition Month Series: Incorporating Physical Activity into Your Daily Life
The benefits of living in San Diego are endless. We aren’t kept inside by snowstorms or freezing temperatures, we rarely need to take cover from rain, and we get sunshine for more than 250 days of the year. It’s easier to exercise when it’s always nice outside, which may be why San Diego has been named one of America’s Top 20 Healthiest Cities. In addition, we’re always surrounded by beautiful scenery that makes it pleasant to spend time exercising outside.
Maintaining an active lifestyle, along with making good choices about food, is key to staying healthy. Exercise regularly rather than occasionally, and your body will thank you for it. However, we know that it can be difficult to incorporate physical activity into your busy schedule. In honor of National Nutrition Month, here are some ways to stay active in your everyday life.
Start your day off right
Many people like to start their day with exercise, whether that means a walk around the block before you pick up your newspaper, a morning yoga session, or a trip to the gym. Exercising at the beginning of the day boosts your energy and lowers stress levels. Plus, you won’t have to worry about fitting in physical activity later in the day if you need to work late or have plans.
Keep moving while you’re at work
First off, consider walking or biking to work if you can. Mornings in San Diego are rarely too cold to get out in the fresh air, plus, you’ll save gas and skip the stress of rush hour traffic. While you’re at work, especially if you work in an office setting, try to avoid sitting for hours on end. Get up periodically and walk around the office. When you need to talk to someone, go do it in person instead of sending them an instant message—it’s better for you, and it has the added bonus of helping you build more personal relationships with your colleagues. At lunch time, take a walk. Getting in some physical activity midday will allow you to stretch your legs and clear your mind. In San Diego, there’s no need to stay inside all day!
Use exercise to wind down
Not a morning person? No problem. Because of Daylight Saving Time, we’ll be enjoying longer days for the next few months. Take advantage of the extra sunlight by walking the dog or going for a jog when you get home from work. Exercising in the evening can calm you down after a stressful day, and it’ll help you sleep better.
Make small changes to get moving more
Think of small changes you can make to be more active and less sedentary in your everyday tasks. Trade your car for a bike or athletic shoes whenever possible, whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or a visit with a friend. If you do drive somewhere, park out of the way a little bit in order to get a few more steps in. Take the stairs instead of the elevator when you can.
Make it social!
It can be easier to stay active when exercise doubles as a social activity. The next time you get together with friends, go for a walk or try out an exercise class instead of just having dinner and drinks. Exercise can also be a great way for your family to spend quality time together.
Whether it’s with friends or family, make exercise a regular thing so it’ll be easier to stick with it. For example, maybe you and a friend agree to meet up every Thursday after work for a bike ride. Or take a hike every Saturday morning with your family. You can even create a fun challenge, like vowing to walk in a new location every week or making it your goal to visit every beach in San Diego by the end of summer.
Stay Active with These San Diego Activities
Unlike other cities that are limited by rain and snow, our farmers markets don’t have to be seasonal. San Diego has plenty of year-round farmers markets that make the perfect weekend outing. Strolling through a farmers market will bring you closer to your daily step quota and give you the chance to pick up some healthy fruits and vegetables from local vendors! Plus, you’ll be able to explore a variety of San Diego neighborhoods: Coronado, Ocean Beach, North Park, Hillcrest, Little Italy, and La Jolla are just a few San Diego neighborhoods with markets.
Hiking is an incredible form of exercise, so it’s good that San Diego is a great city to hike in! Hiking burns a lot of calories, and because it’s a cardiovascular activity, it can lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Taking a hike can be easier on your joints than going for a run on concrete. Try some of these hikes.
Spend some time at the beach
A day at the beach has some serious health benefits! A run in the sand will expend more energy and burn more calories—up to 1.6 times more calories per mile than running on asphalt. Swimming is a low-impact option that will give you a great aerobic workout, and surfing can strengthen muscles in your core, legs, shoulders, and back. Many beaches also have recreation areas where you can play sports, like beach volleyball. Just don’t forget your sunscreen!
These tips will help you stay active in your everyday life while you take advantage of some of San Diego’s best features. Remember that you should always make your health a priority. With the Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups Mobile Health App, it’s easy to stay on top of your health even on your busiest days. Download it today!