Making The Most Of Daylight: 5 Ways To Spend Time Outside This Spring

Remember just a few short months ago when it was dark by 5pm? In the depths of winter, the days can seem to stretch on forever, and it sometimes feels like crawling into bed immediately after dinner is a great idea.

With the spring season comes longer days, warmer weather, and a sense of rebirth. It’s time to make the most of the beauty of springtime by enjoying time outside. 

sun shining through clouds outdoors in a green field.
People of all ages report decreased levels of stress and depression, increased energy levels, and an overall improvement in positive outlook with regular time in nature.

The Great Outdoors

Spending time outside can increase your physical fitness, positively impact your health, and change your whole mood. A study on the impact of therapeutic landscapes on wellbeing in seniors ages 65-86 found “how a relatively mundane experience, such as hearing the sound of water or a bee buzzing among flowers, can have a tremendous impact on overall health”. Indeed, people of all ages report decreased levels of stress and depression, increased energy levels, and an overall improvement in positive outlook with regular time in nature. However, this doesn’t mean you need to go scaling mountains or running marathons. Here are 5 delightful ways to enjoy the great outdoors this season.

Take a walk

Call up a friend, lace up your shoes, and hit the pavement. Many specialists recommend 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day – with 2,000 to 3,000 at a brisk pace – to achieve the maximum benefits of walking. Many cities and towns have designated green spaces with lovely walking paths, but you can also take a stroll around your neighborhood or to your local coffee shop. It’s a great time of year to look at your neighbor’s gardens and say hello!

caucasian hand holding a plan with the root with a woman in the background smiling.
Gardens take less than an hour of maintenance a day but create a calm and beautiful environment.

Start a garden

Speaking of gardens, you can always start your own. If you have the outdoor space, having a vegetable garden right in your own backyard can encourage plant-based healthy eating, mindfulness, and a newfound appreciation for the farm-to-table experience. Some easy vegetables for new gardeners include cucumbers, zucchini, greens like spinach, and a wide variety of herbs such as basil, chives, or rosemary. Gardens take less than an hour of maintenance a day but create a calm and beautiful environment for reading, writing, or just basking in the sun. If you don’t have your own outdoor space you can look into community gardens nearby or offer to help a neighbor care for theirs. 

Explore your neighborhood

Many neighborhood parks offer recreational programming in the spring and summer seasons. These might include outdoor concerts, fairs and festivals, and fitness programs like tai chi or yoga. Any of these would be wonderful reasons to get outdoors and support the local government’s efforts. You can check out your city or town’s Department of Recreation website or social media pages for more information. 

Go bird watching 

There are many Audubon Society approved bird-watching parks and sanctuaries across the country. You don’t need expensive equipment to enjoy this hobby, just take a walk through the park and listen for the chirps and chatter of avian friends. If you’re interested in learning more, you can always pick up one of the many birding guides available at local libraries. Bird watching is a perfect way to spend an afternoon – pack up a picnic and invite family or friends to enjoy the sun with you! 

farmer's market with people walking around.
Browsing the farmer’s market supports the local economy, gets you a breath of fresh air, and can fill your home with delicious goodies. 

Browse a farmer’s market

Farmer’s markets happen throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Generally the farmers will have more produce to sell in the summer and fall, as spring is primarily a planting season. Your local farmer’s market will still have things for purchasing, though: you might see honey, fresh baked goods, homemade beauty products, pickled goods, or handmade arts. Browsing the farmer’s market supports the local economy, gets you a breath of fresh air, and can fill your home with delicious homemade goodies

There are so many great ways to spend time outdoors during this beautiful season! Enjoy every last minute of it. 

The Face Pull – Your Fresh Workout

A New Fitness Workout (That’s not gonna actually pull your face.)

building muscle with weights
Working out is good for more than just your physique.

Most of us work out to look good. No? You’re doing it for health reasons? Okay–well, I work out to look good, and this is an easy workout to slip into the regimen that’ll improve more than just “gettin’ you them gunz”. This isn’t just one of the fitness trends.

I know that it’s easier nowadays to just get a personal trainer when it comes to your fitness. Why learn workouts online when someone can teach you? Personal training gets expensive though, but don’t worry. For the most part, as long as you do your research and take caution, you can build workouts yourself. The “Face Pull” workout is recommended as a good ending for every fitness routine whether HIIT(high-intensity interval) classes or indoor cycling because it improves posture, streamlines muscle balance, and prevents injuries.

Why it Works

Weight lifting does so much for your body and health. It’s important to maintain a balance with the muscle groups you work on. The Face Pull is special in this case.

It hits important muscles that don’t normally get trained. With a lot of fitness routines, you’re pushing against a bar or a dumbbell, or you’re pulling, but it’s with the major muscles in your back. These small muscles(the rotator cuffs in your shoulders) need to be trained too so that they can all work together. Your body should be one smooth, well-oiled machine working toward one goal. And that’s some free advice you can take out of the gym.

How to Do It

working out with cables and pulleys
The cables and pulleys machine uses leverage to build strength.

Alright, so you know what happens on the inside now. But what to do on the outside? The last thing I want you to do is head to your gym and not know what to do. I hate standing around confused, personally. So, let’s take a look at what equipment you’ll need, the movement you’ll use, and specifically what form to take.

First, you’re going to get yourself into a gym with cables and pulleys set up. If you’re lucky enough to have this (or resistance bands) in your own home, then great! The cables and pulleys machine is the nifty looking apparatus with all the ropes in it. The above picture is of this machine. Most likely, you’ll see some swole dude (or dudette, we’re equal opportunity here) pulling them into his/her chest and grimacing at the mirror. Me one day, hopefully.

Here’s how to perform this exercise:

good posture for good health
Keeping the right posture is very important for the Face Pull Workout.
  • Set one pulley to a higher placement than your face. Your posture for this exercise is the same as the photo to the left.
  • Insert the dual-ended rope at the end.
  • Grasp each end firmly (like an airline seat belt), thumbs pointed behind you, and arms stretched out in front.
  • Pull it backward and rotate your arms out, elbows at a 90-degree angle and below the shoulder. This should feel good and bad at the same time because these muscles aren’t hit a lot.
  • Make sure your posture is good, and that you can breathe easily while doing this. Two of the most important rules in weight-lifting besides deodorant.

Ten reps should be good. Most personal trainers won’t hit this rotator cuff.

If you’re at home, secure your resistance bands so that you’re in the same position as the cables and pulleys machine. This could be around a pillar, a sturdy bookcase, or your roommate if they’ll hold still long enough. After setup, continue to do the aforementioned movement.

The second part of this set is about the same. You’ll just go straight up overhead with your arms stiff but not locked. Keep your thumbs pointed behind you, where everyone is looking because you’re doing a hip new workout.

Whether taking a yoga class, full body gym workouts, or just light calisthenics in your living room, this workout hits lesser-used muscle groups that you need to function well overall. If aesthetics are your goal, you’ll get better posture. For overall strength, this will build up those weaker muscles, providing more support in the long run. Need a little more? Here’s an instructional video that can help.