Exercise and the Outdoors

This is an image of an adult stretching on a boardwalk.

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

Regular aerobic exercise has been shown to have significant health benefits, particularly in reducing risk of heart and lung disease, improved sleep, decreased anxiety, weight loss, and even improvement in neck and back pain.  While exercising, the nervous system releases hormones that help control pain levels.  Increased circulation to the neck and back muscles provides increased nutrition for healing, reduces postural tension, and lubricates the joints.

Tips for Getting Started

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week; such as 30 minutes, 5 times per week.  Recent research has shown that 2, 15 minute bouts is as beneficial as 30 minutes of continuous exercise.  This is good news for people who are limited by time constraints or poor endurance!

You should begin by lightly stretching your muscles for a warm up, and build the intensity of your exercise over the fist few minutes.  Increase your intensity level, raising your heart rate and respirations to what is perceived to you as “somewhat strong to strong” effort for at least 20 minutes.  This means you should break a sweat while breathing harder; you should be able to talk, but you don’t necessarily want to.

Before finishing, cool down and decrease your intensity slowly.  Finish with light stretching after exercise.

Get out and Enjoy the Weather!

Are you bored with that same old walk around the neighborhood?  New scenery is a great way to stay motivated and enjoy our city!  There are hundreds of walking and biking trails all over the state, so find someplace new to enjoy the day.

Minneapolis Area Parks and Trails

Here are some links to parks and trails in the area.  If you’re a plant lover, check out the University of Minnesota Arboretum and walk among beautiful plants and trees.