Skip to main content

Exercising Outdoors

“This article was originally published in the Panama City News Herald”  https://www.newsherald.com/lifestyle/20200506/extension-connection-outdoor-exercise-options-abound

By:  Scott Jackson 
UF/IFAS Extension Bay County / Florida Sea Grant 

Paddle boarding is one of many outdoor activities that promote physical and mental fitness. Photo by L. Scott Jackson.

  I was able to safely access the bay for a Sunday afternoon paddle boarding adventure a few weeks ago. The wind was a bit of challenge but provided a welcome workout after too many days spent in the house or even in the yard. I wasn’t the only one seeking solace and taking personal distancing into the water. Everyone I crossed paths with that day seemed to appreciate the gift of outdoors. There was an unspoken appreciation of being outside seen in the kindness and courtesy of others.

Over the past few weeks we’ve been reminded “Wash Your Hands!” Another healthy step is exercise and increasing your level of physical activity. Bay County is blessed with outdoor spaces that provide more than a hiding place from the concerns of today. Where we live there are so many physical activities that everyone can participate in regardless of age or fitness level. It doesn’t matter if you are on the water or prefer to stick close to land.

In the past month, I’ve seen many of my neighbors getting outside for a bike ride, a walk with their family, or a quick run. Getting outdoors promotes personal health by providing important sunlight benefits. One benefit is Vitamin D. Vitamin D doesn’t just come from food or supplements. Our bodies make Vitamin D when exposed to moderate levels of sunlight. Vitamin D supports a healthy immune system along with strong bones and teeth.

Similarly, exercise can also provide important benefits to improve our physical and emotional health. UF/IFAS Extension Bay County will be partnering with other Family and Consumer Science Extension professionals across the state to host a new program for our communities.

Let’s Walk Florida Starts in Bay County May 12, 2020. Register for free at https://bit.ly/nwflwalk. Image provided by UF/IFAS.

“Let’s Walk Florida” supports anyone interested in making positive steps towards a healthier lifestyle. Don’t let the name fool you! Walking is the just the beginning. From A to Z, there are many types of moderate to vigorous activities that will qualify in this program. See https://go.nasa.gov/2xyykgu for examples. There’s an activity for almost everyone!

Our start day is Tuesday, May 12. This ten-week virtual program is free and structured for all fitness levels. Our event sign-up and other registration details are available at https://bit.ly/nwflwalk.

I look forward to seeing you online in our program and the opportunity to learn more about your fitness goals and successes. If you have additional questions please email bay@ifas.ufl.edu or visit us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/bayifas.

An Equal Opportunity Institution. UF/IFAS Extension, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Nick T. Place, Dean for UF/IFAS Extension. Single copies of UF/IFAS Extension publications (excluding 4-H and youth publications) are available free to Florida residents from county UF/IFAS Extension offices.