Emotional Wellbeing

Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Great Outdoor Activities for Better Physical and Mental Health

It’s springtime and that means the days are finally getting a little longer and winter weather is lessening. You may be feeling more motivated now to get outside and take in some fresh air and sunshine, but if the motivation is lacking, then it may be time to reignite your outside routines with a new activity (or two). Here are some great activity ideas that will hopefully have you hopping this spring and give your body and mind a much-needed boost after the doldrums of the winter months.

Get a Glove

Find some good baseball or softball gloves and go outside with a friend or family member to play catch. It sounds almost too simple, but this activity is excellent for sharpening the mind and building fine motor skills in the body, such as hand-eye coordination. An added bonus is the social time it affords you and your catch partner, so pick someone you want to spend more quality time with because, if you want to, you can hold deep, meaningful conversations while playing catch. If you’re looking to get a little more agility training and physical activity into your catch sessions, you can throw each other some high balls and grounders that should get you sprinting and squatting and working that body more.

Find a Court

A nice tennis court is a great find. If you have one near you, it’s worth a little investment to scare up a couple of racquets and some balls and take a friend out to play. Again, because this activity involves a partner, it is excellent for your mental and emotional health, since it provides a social opportunity and bonding experience with someone you, hopefully, care about, or at least with whom you enjoy spending time. Similar to catch, tennis requires a lot of hand-eye coordination and you will probably even be able to break a sweat running back and forth if your partner is a little more competitive and keeps you on your toes. If you’re not keen on tennis, try another racquet sport. Pickleball has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, and you may even discover that your local tennis court has adapted nets for playing this quirky racquet sport.

Hit the Outdoor Gym

More and more parks and playground areas have added adult exercise equipment to the lineup, and these contraptions have come a long way from the torture devices carefully spaced at intervals along the walking trails of yesteryears. Finding a park with some good outdoor gym equipment is a great way to change up your routine and add some strength training and aerobic activity a couple of times each week. Most of these machines have clear instructions for use posted on or nearby. Your mind and body will be challenged in a new way with each machine. If the equipment is spaced along a trail at a park, you can enjoy a jog or brisk walk between stations to up your aerobic benefit.

Yoga in the Park

If you enjoy practicing yoga inside, chances are you will enjoy it outside too. You don’t have to wait for an actual outdoor yoga class to take your practice to the grass. Depending on your experience level, you can devise your own set or conjure one up on a smartphone or other device for a virtual class experience. Many are discovering that yoga is perhaps the ultimate mind-body workout. It incorporates deep breathing, expansive stretches, and body awareness that should leave you feeling peaceful and light after a good yoga session.

Jump Some Rope

Jumping rope is another great challenge for the mind and body. It requires agility and carefully timed movements, and can really have you sweating in no time at all. Besides the standard forward jump, you can try increasing the forward speed for some “hot pepper” jumps, reverse the rope for backward jumping, jump on one foot, and maybe even try criss-cross rope jumping. All sorts of jump rope techniques can be explored to keep your mind and body sharp.

One of the best ways to sharpen your mind and body is by adding a new and different activity that will motivate you to get outside and get moving.

Photo by Thao Le Hoang on Unsplash