Get Up, Get Out, and Get Active!

By Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation

With the heat of summer well underway, it’s easy to give in to Netflix and the air conditioner. And while it’s good to have a day of rest, we like to encourage you to make the most of these long summer days by getting up, getting out, and getting active! And lucky for us, Idaho is famous for its outdoor recreation. Here are a few ideas to help keep your body in motion:

Biking

Whether you’re an avid biker or just getting back up on two wheels, there are so many fabulous trails and pathways across the state. From the tip of the panhandle to the southernmost points, there are mountain bike trails for all levels of bikers. The Idaho City Area Trail and Yurt System has an intricate array of forested mountain trails that help keep the summer heat at bay. Or check out some of the single-track trails at Priest Lake, Ponderosa, or Eagle Island! And if mountain biking isn’t your scene, then we would be remiss if we didn’t mention one of the longest continually paved trails in the US. Located in Northern Idaho, The Trail of the Coeur d’Alene’s is a 72-mile, fully paved trail that winds along rivers, lakes, and historic towns.
View more trail ideas.

Water Recreation

Sometimes the only way to beat the summer heat is a dip in one of Idaho’s many natural waterways. Boat, paddle, or swim your way around more than 2,000 lakes and over 100,000 miles of rivers. And you don’t have to be a pro to dive into this summer activity—affordable paddle-craft rentals are available at many state parks and vendors across the state. And more than just fun, swimming is a great workout! It uses the entire body as you move against the resistance of the water. Just be sure to bring a life jacket!

Disc Golf

With the increasing popularity of this sport, disc golf courses are popping up everywhere, and Idaho is no exception! And perhaps the best part about disc golf is it can be as rigorous or relaxing of an experience as you like. Many parks offer 9 or 18-hole courses where games can be played in the spirit of competition or simply as a way to enjoy the wildlife and scenery.
Find a course near you.

Volunteering

Few things in life make you feel as good as volunteering. And your Idaho State Parks would not be the same without the help from our incredible volunteers! From planting trees to hosting campgrounds to clearing pathways and assisting educational programs, volunteering in an Idaho State Park is a great way to get outside this summer and experience something new. Learn more about getting involved with an Idaho State Park this season.

Come share in the adventures with us this season! With hundreds of campsites, thousands of miles of trails for hiking, cycling, and motorbiking, and events going on nearly every day—there is no reason not to get out and experience Idaho. See you on the trails!

All photos courtesy of Idaho Parks and Recreation.

Plan it. App it.

According to Forbes, 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions; 8% are sucessful in achieving them. Ouch. Reality hits hard. The bottom line – changing behaviors is difficult (duh!). Having a plan and a support system can help in achieving goals. Don’t know how to start making a plan? Check out Table Talk. It walks you through the essentials of a plan and making SMART Goals. Don’t know how to create a support system? Beyond family and friends, check out the apps you can download on your smart phone. They’re with you day and night! Didn’t see an app that appealed to you? Check out The 65 Best Health & Fitness Apps of 2014. Or, share your favorite wellness app with us!

Are you a sitting target?

I was talking with a group of women last week about breast cancer. It seems the majority fell into two groups…”I don’t want to hear any more about breast cancer; I am sick of it” and “I am scared to death; I don’t want a mammogram – I just hope for the best”. I can appreciate both perspectives but doesn’t it just make us sitting targets? Cancer feeds on ignorance and fear; they are cancer’s allies. Idaho has a low mammography screening rate and we need to change that. Please know that you don’t have to participate in a cancer walk, you don’t have to wear pink, you don’t have to pledge support, you don’t have to listen to surviviors. All you have to do is get a mammogram. No more excuses. Make the call; get it done. For breast cancer resources, visit Health Matters. For financial assistance with a mammogram, visit Women’s Health Check and Operation Pink Bag. Do you have a breast cancer story you would like to share?

Ready for fall cleanup?

I spend lots of time in September/October getting the house ready for fall and winter. As I was struggling to clean the rain gutters this weekend, it occurred to me I should be putting equally as much time into fall cleanup and winter prep for my body…you know, a little medical self-care. At the very least, I should have a plan. Do you have a winter plan? Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Dust off your fitness club membership
  • Check your walking shoes for a good fit
  • Locate your walking hat, gloves, and flashing safety lights
  • Call your walking partner; set a date
  • Refresh your sunscreen (yes, you still need to wear it!)
  • Get your cholesterol and glucose (blood sugar) checked
  • Have your blood pressure checked
  • Write down your weight and waist measures; measure against them every 1-2 months
  • Get a flu shot!
  • Check your immunizations…shingles, tetanus, pneumonia
  • Schedule your preventive health checks: teeth cleaning, PSA, mammogram, pap smear, colonoscopy
  • Stock your pantry with high energy foods
Make your list; take good care of you!  Go into winter feeling good; you’re much more apt to have a healthy spring. What’s your plan to prepare your body for winter?

Don’t just sit there. Move something!

Fidget. Do a desk-top drum roll. Shrug your shoulders. Turn your head left and right. Walk to your neighbor’s cubicle. Do stapler arm curls or chair leg-lifts. Stand on one foot. Dance it out. Just put it in motion. Make it your motto – “Seated for 60? Up for 3!” A general lack of movement or physical inactivity may be as deadly as smoking.  It’s true. Putting your body on “stall” is damaging. Letting it sit and idle all day while working is poisonous to your health. To top it off, if your belly is growing, your work performance may be shrinking. All good reasons to get up and move! A sedentary office job is no excuse. Use the time you sit in a chair to do some discrete exercises. Stop waiting for a trip to the gym,  or an evening walk, or some great inspiration – just start moving! Get your co-workers involved. Share the activity you do to keep yourself moving at work.

Take it outside!

The next time you feel like falling into the recliner or perching yourself comfortably with your laptop, smart phone, tablet or whatever… STOP! Take it outside. In fact, take the whole family outside. Put down the remotes, put away the technology, turn off the power. Unplug. There’s a whole world waiting for your family – outside. Unplug and Be Outside is happening across Idaho in April and May. Try a new activity. Have a family contest. Each family member can choose an activity for everyone to try – rock climbing, golf, fishing, bike rodeo, geocaching, star gazing, camping, belly dancing, hockey, zumba, ice skating, gardening…and the list goes on! Come on – reconnect with the earth. Take it outside! How does your family “take it outside” and be active?

Winter got you tied up in knots?

Had enough of the snow, ice, and sub-zero weather? Are the kids and animals turning on you? Winter weather forces us indoors with lots of moaning and groaning and pent-up energy. Here are some ways to use that pent up energy. For your little kids, Parents.com promotes 11 Fun Activities When Winter Weather Traps You Indoors – not a bad list of things to get the little ones focused on something fun. For your older kids, create an indoor skating rink, play freeze play or do mirror dancing. Lots more great ideas on Examiner.com. For your pets, throw a nerf ball, play tug-of-war, hide treats, use a laser pointer. Get dogs outside for a brief walk; it doesn’t have to be long, just enough time for them to experience another world. Pets can get destructive when they don’t have stimulation or outside time. More great ideas on keeping your pet active and fit indoors is on Petfinder. For you, look at “winter confinement” as a gift! Remember what it was like to read a good book? Now you have time. Get members of your family involved and read aloud, or create your own home-bound family book club. Always wanted to try new, healthy vegetable recipes? Now is the time to go online or scour your cookbooks and magazines for healthy alternatives. Walking DVD’s are great for winter weather; get off the couch, plug in the DVD, and get a mile under your belt in 15 minutes. How about your own DIY project? BuzzFeed has insanely easy fun projects that even I can manage! This is my new favorite website. I’m going to make a firefly jar…. What are your ideas for staying active indoors?

Simple Choices

Good health is a journey. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the destination and give up on the journey. The reality is, simple choices make a difference. Changing a single health habit can result in huge wellness payoffs for you. Think about it. Choose any one of the items below and change just that habit this coming year. You will be light years ahead with your health.
  • Go to bed! Get ½ hour to an hour more sleep than you are currently getting
  • Floss your teeth – daily
  • Brush your teeth – twice daily, not once but twice
  • Move it, move it, move it throughout the day. Stand more, walk more, fidget more. Don’t save it for the gym.
  • Wear your seat belt, always.
  • Make an appointment for that one preventive health check you have been avoiding
  • Give up the tobacco
  • Do something every day that brings you pleasure…read, laugh, sing, nap, meditate, relax
  • Buy a good pair of walking shoes and use them
  • Know your blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose numbers; write them down
  • We are what we eat. Cut back on one of your less healthy food addictions…sweets, fats, breads…
  • Sugary drinks are just plain bad. Stop it.
At the end of every day think of the simple, good health choices you made and pat yourself on the back, say it out loud…or journal it. It’s a known fact that we get more of what we concentrate our thoughts on. If you focus on the positive choices you made, you will get more positive behaviors. If your focus remains on your negative choices, you may just stay stuck! What simple health choices are you planning for 2013?