Time to Put a Spring in Your Step
By Elizabeth Sukys-Rice, MSW
Make Use of Your Tools
One of the wonderful benefits of living in Florida is the amazing weather. Often we wake up, look outside and see the glorious sunshine glistening off the lush tropical landscapes. Spring is a great time to take advantage of the lower humidity and comfortable temperatures. So let’s get ready for a walk in the sunshine.
- It is important to have a good pair of shoes. Walking shoes are purposely made to support your feet properly during the ball / heel strike that normally occurs with each step. The correct shoes will reduce the risk of undue stress on joints and tendons.
- Make sure you consider the right clothing when going for your walk. It might be necessary to layer a few items, for example a windbreaker over a tee shirt might be nice as it allows for a few different options such as, zipped, unzipped and maybe off temporarily if in the direct sunlight.
- Apply a light layer of sunscreen to avoid skin condition challenges, also wear a pair of proper fitting sunglasses to reduce your risk for developing cataracts and help with glare or reflections that could present an issue.
- Check the forecast, if calling for slight chances of rain bring a small umbrella for those brief light showers we have here in the sunny state.
April is the month to increase our awareness of the importance our world of nature. It is “National Garden Month, on the 7th, World Health Day, the 22nd brings Earth Day and bringing up the tail, Arbor Day on the 29th. Getting outside in nature has tremendous benefits and walking is a great way to capitalize on fantastic lasting health benefits:
- Walking is one of the best overall aerobic activities. It requires no equipment, we all know how to do it, its low impact, and has the lowest risk of injury. You can recruit a friend or take your dog to increase your continued success. The communities in which we live make wonderful places to walk, a wave to a neighbor, take in beautiful landscaping and feel safe.
- There is something called, “Moving Meditation”. You might remember a time when you found yourself walking; you felt very relaxed, almost as if you were in a state of relaxation. Exposing ourselves to nature and the repetitive movement of our hands swinging back and forth, one foot in front of the other provides a perfect foundation to relieve tension and stress, bring our emotional wellbeing to a higher place. Exposing oneself to nature brings a calm back to our spirits that we find when connecting to the Earth with its glorious offerings.
- On those days when you have time for a leisurely walk, expand on the opportunity to increase your multi-sensory experience. Try something like bird watching, identifying new flowers or trees, or take some bird seed or bread with you to feed the squirrels or some ducks if there is a spot close by. Take a moment and settle on a bench or a fallen branch or limb and take in what is happening around you, let your mind experience the sights, sounds and smells.
- Now get out there and try Walking in Sunshine, and put that “Spring back in your Step” Happy Trails!