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Warming Up to Outdoor Fitness
Episode 627th April 2023 • What The Health: News & Information To Live Well & Feel Good • John Salak
00:00:00 00:12:56

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Curious about how to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine? In this episode of What the Health, we discuss the importance of physical fitness for mental health, injury recovery, pain management, and reducing the risk of health issues. 

Physical fitness is an ongoing journey that should change with a person's age, condition, and personal goals, which is emphasized in today's episode. The conversation offers various options for outdoor activities that can be done solo, as couples, or as part of a team. These activities range from easy to intense, including walking, hiking, Nordic walking, rock climbing, and more. The podcast also provides exclusive discounts from JumpSport and health hacks for listeners to stay fit and healthy. So grab a friend, family member, or pet and head outside to enjoy the many physical and mental benefits of outdoor activities today!

Chapter Summaries;

[0:00:30] Leading a Healthier Life: Insights on Fitness and Wellness

[0:00:55] Improving Physical Fitness: Benefits, Definition, and Guidelines

[0:03:01] The Benefits of Outdoor Physical Activity for Adults of All Ages

[0:09:09] Exploring Physical Activities and Health Hacks for Wellbeing

[0:10:41] Universal Health Hacks for Staying Active and Involved: Tips for Any Age and Condition

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John Salak: Who doesn't want to be fit? Precious few, but getting there can be intimidating. The process includes everything from eating right to feeling right, to being physically right. Of course all of these rights support each other, eat poorly, and the chances are your mental and physical state will suffer exercise regularly, and chances are you'll feel better, which will probably lessen your urge to dive into a barrel of scooter pies reduce stress and anxiety and it's easier to be more active.

You get the connections. But covering all three rights is a little bit much for one episode of What The Health, so we're gonna focus just on physical fitness. Something we touched on in our last podcast. When we dish the dirt on getting the most out of a gym membership. We're gonna tighten up the focus even more by looking at outside activity options, which is only appropriate since the weather is getting better and opportunities are everywhere.

Let's be clear, improving physical fitness isn't about losing weight, developing better muscle tone or maybe just looking great in a bathing suit. Its positive impacts are more than skin deep. In fact, they're almost limitless. Getting fit, promotes mental health, enhances injury recovery, helps with pain management and can even lower the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer, and diabetes, among other issues.

But what exactly is fitness? Is it a specific goal, a place, an achievement, or a condition? Is it the embodiment of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gisele Bündchen, Russell Wilson, or maybe Megan Rapinoe not really, and that's not a slap at the people we just mentioned or anyone else. They just may not reflect what's fit or appropriate for everyone.

Well, here's one general definition. Physical fitness is a state of health and wellbeing, and more specifically, the ability to perform aspects of sports, occupations and daily activities. Ultimately, it's an ongoing journey, which can and should change with a person's age, current condition, personal aims and intensity focus, but it's a journey everyone should be on, no matter their condition or age.

The good news is that millions already are. About 46% of Americans are meeting the recommended guidelines for aerobic physical activity, and about 25% are hitting the right levels for combined muscle and aerobic activity. The bad news, of course, is that a lot of people aren't meeting these guide. More worrisome still, is it about 25% adults are totally inactive and this level rises significantly as people age.

Thankfully, there are lots of ways to get physically active outdoors, whether it means starting a daily walk, going for a barefoot run, hitting a golf course, or perhaps going full tilt pickle ball.

There are endless ways to take advantage of good weather and get active outdoors. These activities can be done solo as couples, even as part of a team. And they don't have to involve going to physical extremes. The important thing is to get moving. A journey can start with moderate activity that might involve a stroll, an easy walk, or even a slow bike ride.

What's amazing is that even low pressure activities can yield significant benefits. If you don't believe me, just check into We've written a stream of stories on what little sweat can do for you. Separate studies out of Switzerland and Maryland for example, report that just 15 minutes of moderate exercise daily, such as a bike ride, improves motor skills and memory for both young and older adults.

The American Heart Association claims that 30 minutes of walking a day, even if it's broken down into three 10 minute strolls, enhances a person's immune system, increases their energy levels, and lowers their risk of heart disease. It also builds muscle endurance and bone strength and reduces the risk of anxiety and depression.

UMass maintain that those over 50 can cut their risk of stroke or heart attack by 40 to 50%, if they take 6,000 to 9,000 steps a day compared to others moving at just 2,000 steps daily. If this isn't convincing enough, consider the old adage that 10,000 steps a day is the secret to longevity. Well, UMass claims just walking 7,000 steps a day can significantly reduce premature death rates in older adults.

What's the bottom line? A walk a stroll, an easy bike ride; moderate activities increase your chances of living a longer and healthier life. Heck, moderate exercise can be accomplished without making it a job or a task. Think of something like fishing. Most of us might consider this well, a hobby, a laid back leisure activity.

It's not really exercise, but they'd be wrong. And those who have spent an afternoon surf casting or fly fishing thigh deep in a flowing trout stream can attest to that. Options don't have to stop with easy to moderate activities, even for mature adults. Activity levels can easily be ratcheted up or down as desired.

Looking for more intense but still manageable activities. Consider Nordic walking, which delivers extra benefits because it uses design poles to engage upper body and lower body muscles. Canadian and US researchers claim this workout gives individuals a significant boost in their ability to perform daily activities compared to standard high intensity interval training and moderate to vigorous intensity continuous.

Then there's hiking, which is highly versatile. It not only gets you out into nature, its intensities levels can be increased by extending the distance, hiking, inclines, and overcoming obstacles. Skateboarding, speed walking, dirt biking, rock climbing, and long distant bike rides are also high intensity. A journal and pumping workouts, though they require specific skill sets to engage.

These activities may not be for everyone, but they're easy to explore online or in person through various meetings. Oh yeah, and since the weather's getting better, swimming also comes to the mix. It is a low impact therapeutic activity that is great for anyone dealing with an injury. It is also a super aerobic exercise.

It builds muscles, burns calories, regulates blood sugar, levels, aids, asthma, and helps you sleep better. And of course there's jogging. Over 60 million Americans jog regularly at a variety of speeds. The common denominator is however that jogging at any piece aids immune systems, relieves stress and anxieties, enhances flexibility and burns calories.

Okay. Maybe going solo isn't inspiring enough for everyone. Maybe getting on the move with others is the best way to get and to stay on a fitness journey. Again, there are options available for easy, moderate, and even intense competitive activities. Golf and tennis are two great places to start. These sports are played by people of almost all ages, obviously at different intensity levels.


Tennis is obviously more intense, even if you're just playing in a non-competitive manner. About 20 million people play regularly in the US and they tend to run four to five miles in an hour long singles match and three to four miles in a doubles match. All the while they'll burn about 400 to 800 calories per hour.

Basketball also remains an option even for many well into their fifties. Of course, it's not a sport that people usually pick up late in life, but for those who have been shooting hoops from their teens or twenties, there's no reasons to stop as they age. There are all sorts of leagues and pick up games to cater to different skill levels and age groups.

Softball and baseball offer another chance to stay active and. Okay. As Bruce Springsteen correctly laments, maybe your glory days have passed and you can no longer throw that speed ball by them. But there are all sorts of appropriate leagues, especially in softball, that can allow people to keep playing ball from their twenties, well into their seventies beyond.

And okay, we haven't forgotten. Perhaps America's fastest growing sport pickleball. Close to 40 million Americans now play this paddle centric sport, which initially drew mature adults, but is now spreading to younger people. While it is not as vigorous as tennis, the sports intensity level can be heightened by simply joining leagues or participating in tournaments and pickle ballers still burn close to 400 calories an hour.

That's nothing to snear at. We haven't touched on options like lawn bowling, bocci ball, dancing, gardening. We're a host of wintertime outdoor activities like skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and curling. The point is, there are lots of ways to stay physically active, but you have to start and you have to stay with it.

Mix it up if you need be.

Before we dish out some health hacks for this episode, we wanted to offer up an exclusive discount from one of our many affiliates. Members of our Well-Well Being community get 25% off PliyoFit adapters from Jump Sport when using the Code Pliyo25. Jump Sport is a leader in trampolines for both exercise and fun, and their adapters are essential for a safe and rewarding.

Now joining our Well-Well Being community is easy and it's free, and it opened you up to hundreds of exclusive discounts on health and wellness products and services. To join, just visit Go to Milton's Discounts on the pull down menu, and you'll see the signup sheet. Enjoy!

Okay, so now we're gonna give you some health hacks.

We're gonna narrow this down a bit for this episode because we covered so much ground and we want to universal hacks that can fit almost any situation to help you get involved and stay involved. So first off, staying involved doesn't have to be work. Just pick group or solo activities that you like, whether it's hiking, biking, pickleball, or anything else.

Make it fun and chances are you'll stay with it longer. Two, if you haven't been active in ages, don't worry about it. There are plenty of ways to start regardless of your age or your condition. In fact, it's probably wise to start with moderate or easy activities and build from there. Three, make a plan and track your progress.

This will help you stay engaged and it'll also give you a sense of accomplishment. Four, going for a hike deep in the woods, maybe climbing a rock face, perhaps venturing 90 minutes upstream to find that secret trout pool. Let people know where you're going ahead of time so if anything happens like an accident, help will know where to go.

Five. Explore, explore, explore local options. There are undoubtedly plenty of group activities locally, no matter where you live, and this could involve walking, jogging, basketball games, bike riding, pickleball tournaments among other things. Getting connected with a group will make it easy to get moving, and chances are you'll also meet like-minded individuals and get lots of good advice.

Okay, so now you're ready to be fitted. Don't just sit there, get moving, and thanks very much for listening.