Get outside and get moving! By Kristen Upham, BS, MSN, FNP-C

One topic that I am constantly discussing with patients is the importance of regular physical activity.  I often suggest that the summer is a good time to start up an exercise routine, since it is nice enough to walk around outside; however there always seem to be excuses to avoid exercising in the summer.  Most of these excuses are pretty valid:  it’s too warm- there’s risk for dehydration, the sun is too strong and potentially damaging, and there are mosquitoes and ticks to worry about.  All of these concerns are genuine, and I find myself using them from time to time.  I must continually be reminded that in Massachusetts, there are so few months of warmth that we really do need to take advantage of them when they come.

There are a number of fun physical activities that really can only be enjoyed in the summer, and this is a great time to remember that “exercise” does not have to be 45 minutes on a treadmill three days a week.  Now is the perfect time to enjoy a swim in an outdoor pool, lake, or ocean- a fun activity that can be done solo or with a group.  Someone that’s a little more adventurous may be interested in trying paddle boarding, kayaking, or even surfing!  There are also a number of nearby mountains in the area that can be hiked for great exercise and amazing views.

If you typically enjoying jogging or walking- summer may be the perfect time to continue your routine in a new location- perhaps along the beach or on a trail.  I have recently been trying to explore some of the gorgeous trails in the town I live in.  I have been amazed by the birds and wildlife I have encounters, not to mention flowers and plants I don’t typically see.  It has been a great reminder to me to take advantage of this time of year- and I encourage all of you to do the same!  Get moving outside while you can!