Enjoy the Outdoors in all Seasons

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not a seasonal activity. It’s something that we strive to do year round. Getting in shape and staying in shape should be easy to do no matter what time of year it is. Maintaining a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle can be challenging, but we all know the rewards are endless. Seasonal activities can be planned ahead of time or can be spontaneous adventures; the choice is yours.

Wherever you might live, there are unlimited options for getting out and enjoying a productive and healthy life. Here are some activities listed by season that will get you out and moving all year long!

Spring

Spring is a glorious time of year. Gone are the icy days of winter, and the explosion of color from fresh blossoms can be found everywhere! For those who take the time to notice, baby animals are being born all over the world in the springtime. Hiking is an excellent way to see wildlife as well as the newly blooming flora. National or state parks are wonderful places to go hiking, but if you live near the coast, don’t just settle for long walks on the beach! Coastal hills and bluffs can provide a more challenging hike as well as stunning ocean views!

If you crave a little more adventure, then camping might be the activity for you! Camping is a favorite way to really connect with nature again after those long cold months spent mostly indoors. The mild temperatures at this time of year will make almost any activity possible! Take the whole family and go “glamping” in a cabin, opt for a solo adventure with dispersed camping on BLM land, or choose anything in between, depending on your tastes and budget.

Starting a garden is rewarding all year long. Being outside, caring for your plants and reaping the rewards at harvest time are all benefits of one of the healthiest activities you can learn. Gardening or farming is truly a lifestyle that will benefit your physical health. Being able to share your gardening skills is also a great way to stay active in your community. Why not join your local gardening club, or even start one of your own?

Personally, spring is my favorite time of year to travel. The crowds have yet to appear, the weather is almost always perfect, and the prices are often very reasonable. Trekking up a mountain, lounging on a beach, rafting on the Colorado River and deep-ocean sports fishing are all things that are perfect activities for your next springtime vacation.

Summer

Summer is, of course, famous for family vacations. Children are out of school, and most people choose to take advantage of the hot weather to indulge in water sports. Boating isn’t just for the wealthy and adventurous. Whether you’re fishing or water skiing, boating has been a favorite summer activity for generations. Boats are usually available to rent by the hour or the day at any marina.

Other seasonal activities that will also let you beat the heat in the water are scuba diving, snorkeling, cliff-diving and river-rafting. If you think you’d enjoy an outdoor yoga session, try renting a stand-up paddle board (SUP) and finding a nice calm lake or bay!

If you’re planning a vacation, the Colorado River has long been a favorite summertime destination. Water-skiers and Jet-skiers dash across the river while sun bathers relax in floating inner-tubes. Nearby Lake Havasu has a giant hedge maze that most people take hours to find their way out of, offering a nice long walk!

Kayaking can be relaxing or can be an adrenaline rush, depending on where you decide to do it. If you live near a large body of water or a river, it’s financially advantageous to buy your own kayak. But if you prefer, kayaks can be rented for a reasonable price, usually by the hour. Double kayaks have become quite popular with couples, and kayaking on a still lake at dusk is one of the most romantic things I can imagine doing.

If water sports aren’t your thing, these warm-weather months are also great for visiting local farms and farmers markets. Wander up and down rows of vine-ripened berries or through an avocado orchard. Many farms have a “pick-your-own” special, allowing you to spend a day outdoors and gather your own fresh fruits and vegetables, many times at a fraction of what they might cost in the store. This activity is one you may want to share with friends and family.

Outdoor cooking is always a summertime favorite. The variety of local produce during these months makes experimenting with healthy recipes easy. Building an outdoor oven isn’t just a great way to stay out of a hot kitchen but can be a focal point for a social gathering. Detailed instructions for building an outdoor kitchen of any sort are readily available online. There are many great recipes for healthy breads and pizzas, stews and paleo foods–whatever your preferences, outdoor cooking is a healthy and wonderfully social activity.

Summertime is also prime music and movie festival time! Try volunteering to help with set-up at your local festivals. It’s hard work, a great workout, and you may even get free tickets to the event!

 

Autumn

As the seasons change and the holidays sneak up on us, many people begin to focus on family gatherings and company parties. Of course, this also means focusing on food and drink. While this is a wonderful time of year, it’s important to not let your active lifestyle suffer. You can enjoy the changing of the seasons outdoors as well as indoors. Walking burns more calories than you might think and is an amazing way to really take in the fall colors. Set a goal of walking at least one hour every day during the autumn months, and you won’t have to worry about those company parties adding inches to your waistline!

While many people might not consider stargazing to be an activity, sometimes getting to the best stargazing spots can be! Finding an out-of-the-way place, away from city lights, can be challenging and fun. After a day spent searching for the perfect spot at the top of a mountain, you’ll be more than happy to relax and watch for a shooting star, spot your favorite constellation or just quietly gaze at the stunning Milky Way Galaxy.

Fall is apple-harvesting time! Many communities with apple orchards have harvest festivals and cider or pie contests! While Washington state is famous for its fall harvests, if you’re near California, try the towns of Ojai or Julian. Each October brings bushels of apples and tons of activities surrounding the orchards.

Winter

The long, cold nights and chilly, sometimes snowy days, make outdoor activities seem less appealing to some during the winter months. Don’t let the cold weather stall your active lifestyle! There are more things to do outdoors at this time of year than you might realize. If you don’t already live near an area laden with snow, plan a trip to Lake Tahoe or Aspen, or any nearby mountain! If you have never been cross-country skiing, there are lessons available almost anywhere where there’s snow. Cross-country skiing is a great cardio workout, and you don’t even have to buy a lift pass! It can be a great way to explore a new area, too!

For a little more adrenaline in your life, try sledding or snowmobiling. Sledding can be an all-day family activity, and snowmobiling can get you to your favorite ice-fishing hole! Why not give both a try? If you live in a really cold area, you can try the Polar Bear Challenge, where people run to a body of water (usually a lake) and jump in! Just a quick dunk is said to be invigorating to the body and the spirit! Don’t forget to have someone film your jump; the Internet is just wild for these amazing videos. There are Polar Bear Clubs popping up all over the world!

From ice skating at your local rink, to building a snowman with the kids, snowy days are a great chance to get out and be active. You’ll appreciate the hot chocolate by a roaring fire in the evening.

If you’re just not a fan of the snow or cold weather, try joining a gym with an indoor pool or rock-climbing wall. You can also take a hot yoga class to warm your core. Alternatively, you can maintain your active lifestyle right from home! Organizing your closet, performing any home repairs you might have been putting off, cleaning out your garage—these are all things that will keep you moving while getting some chores out of the way so that when better weather rolls around, you’ll be ready to get out there and make the most of it!

This is a great time of year to learn a new skill: canning, knitting, sewing, woodworking or learning to make stained-glass window ornaments. You can make your own personalized gifts for the holidays or just become a little more self-sufficient. Indoor activities are all around, and staying active is as easy as watching a few videos and shopping for some supplies.

Hopefully, the ideas here have given you some inspiration to get out and find some new things to do this year. Whatever you decide to do to make—or keep—your lifestyle healthy and exciting, don’t forget to relax every once in a while and enjoy the company of friends and a meal with your family. Sharing activities year round and staying socially active is vitally important to maintaining emotional health.

Now, no matter what time of year it might be, get out there and do something fun!

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