Getting Back Outside

Spring is in the air, and amid the budding trees and warm weather, you may hear your sneakers calling you from the closet. Are you ready to get outside and enjoy the season, all while burning some extra calories on your medical weight loss plan? Check out these ideas to wake up your body—as well as your mind and spirit—from your winter slumber:

  1. Nature Walk: This weekend when you’re looking for something to do, try reconnecting with nature. Google ‘botanical garden’ or ‘arboretum’ and see what comes up in your area. Then grab your pedometer and go! Lots of conservatories and gardens have extensive acres of foliage. You can easily do a mile-plus walk, all while savoring the new blossoms and learning about the plants and birds you’ll see. Don’t have any in your area? Many larger parks will have online guides to the flora and fauna you’ll encounter, as well as suggested walking routes.
  2. Hiking: Once you’ve got a few nature walks under your belt, kick it up a notch and try a hike. There are likely plenty in your area, and most have websites that will indicate the intensity of the trail. Go for something a bit lower-key initially, and challenge yourself more over time. If you’re hiking earlier in the morning, remember to dress warmly and in layers, depending on the forecast. Of course, proper shoes and bringing enough water are a must. If you fall in love with hiking—as many do—consider joining a hiking club in your area.
  3. Landmarks and Monuments: Take advantage of the outdoor attractions in your area. These might include an historic lighthouse if you live on the water, national or regional landmarks, natural wonders, or battlefields and historic trails. Pick one that offers tours or self-guided walks, and give yourself extra points if you ride your bike or take public transportation to get there (virtually guaranteed to provide more exercise than the car). Even museums can be a good bet, especially those that have large grounds and gardens with walking trails. And, of course, there are always the outdoor steps!
  4. Bike Trails and Paths: Explore the hidden wonders of your hometown by taking the route less-traveled. There are likely at least a few long (10-plus mile) bike paths near you. Pick one that looks doable for your fitness level. You’ll be amazed at how differently you’ll experience areas you may have driven by a million times. Don’t have a bike? Don’t worry: You can do a brisk walk instead. Make it a bit more challenging by using your pedometer to see how far you’ve gone or a stopwatch to time yourself, and then challenge yourself next time to do it further or faster (or both)!


Remember to always get clearance from your physician before starting or modifying any physical fitness routine.