Summertime means longer, warmer days and more ways to be physically active around and outside your home – from strolls around the neighborhood to long bike rides on one of the many paved trails in Omaha – there’s no shortage of methods to move your body.

The importance of exercise

According to the National Institute of Aging, you can reap many benefits from physical activity, such as improved sleep, stress and anxiety reduction, improved balance and a decreased risk of falls and so much more.

It’s important to get at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening activity a week per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Examples of aerobic exercise are brisk walking and mowing the lawn; examples of strengthening activities are lifting weights and working with resistance bands.

Here are five ways to boost your physical activity:

  • Exchange the gym for the garden. Gardening and yardwork are great ways to get aerobic benefits.
  • Beat the heat and stay cool with a water aerobics class. Exercising in the water is a great cardiovascular workout and has a minimal impact or stress on your bones and joints.
  • Exercise to music. Put on some music and dance, walk or run. Whatever your fitness level, the music will give your routine a little flair.
  • Find an exercise buddy. Showing up to workout takes daily discipline. Seek out a friend to help you hold yourself accountable.
  • Visit a local berry farm to pick fresh produce. Fresh berries are in season during the summer, so it’s a perfect time to pick raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Find an abundance of fresh produce walking around a local berry farm and enjoy your pickings as a nutritious snack!

Stay safe in the sun

When spending time outside, don’t forget to protect yourself against the heat and stay hydrated. Keep these tips in mind every time you step outside:

  • Wear sunscreen: Sunscreen helps prevent sunburns. Look for a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. Apply it about 15-30 minutes before sun exposure. If you are enjoying water activities, be sure to reapply your sunscreen frequently.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: Aim to drink six to eight glasses of water every day. The feeling of thirst decreases as we age, so be sure to increase your water intake, especially if you are exercising or doing any type of prolonged physical activity.
  • Watch for heat stroke: Some signs to look for are confusion, disorientation, dry skin, excessive tiredness, headache, lack of energy, nausea and a rapid heart rate. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Choose shoes carefully. As often as possible, wear walking shoes. This will give you the support you need, and you will be ready to get moving whenever the opportunity arises.

For more articles like this, visit Health and Wellness.

Always talk with your doctor before starting an exercise routine.