Our weather has turned warmer, the days are longer and those of us who use walking as our form of exercise have started doing it in earnest. Now is the time to establish the habit of movement every day, it becomes easier to continue it in the fall and winter.
Walking is great but there are so many other options to try this summer. Think “movement” and not “exercise”. Movement related activities allow us to use our body in a way that we wouldn’t normally, waking up the muscles, nerves and blood flow to different areas. This makes us healthier and happier. I’ve included some suggestions along with websites to check out for further information. All options go from beginning to advanced so check them out.
Of all of the list, hiking is my favorite. Whether it be a leisurely stroll in Point Pleasant or a long challenging hike like Cape Spilt I am always up for a hike. With little kids I will strap Olive on my back for short hikes or I will go with a friend or my mom. Jack is getting close to being able to hike with a goal (think geocaching). Hiking is great for your adrenal glands; you are able to get moving but it recharges you at the same time because of the type of activity but also because you are doing it in nature. It’s also free and you can start short and work your way up to the length of hike you want. There are so many close to the city but lots within an hour or two that are completely worth it. A notable one is Gaff Point, just off of Hirtles Beach outside of Lunenburg.
Maybe you want to consider an activity in or on the water. There are so many! Think kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, Tidal Bore rafting, surfing, sailing and swimming. Other than swimming, these activities can be a little more complicated to make happen but can add so much to your body’s movement. We all know our ocean can be a bit cold for swimming until August but we have so many lakes to choose from. Long Lake, Oakfield park and Kearney Lake are some good options. We are partial to Bayswater Beach (20 minutes outside of Hubbards) and start to swim as soon as we can.
Boating uses your arms and activates your back and core muscles. Kayaking is the easiest to pick up if you haven’t tried one before but go with a guide if you decide to go in the ocean for the first time! Canoeing is a bit harder to pick up but is really rewarding when you get the hang of it. You can go on short canoe trips but if you’ve gone to the trouble to rent a canoe you may want to pair it with camping. I’ve listed the link for the canoe maps of NS that may be helpful in planning your route. I have only been surfing once in my life and it was with friends on Vancouver Island. My husband and I still look back on it fondly. It was so much work but so rewarding when you caught that wave! It uses every single muscle in your body and we needed to rest for the few days following.
The number of people paddle boarding has exploded since 2013. Benefits include improved balance, full body workout, a low impact activity and reduced stress. You can rent paddle boards but if you love it, you can purchase one as well. I haven’t yet tried this and cannot wait to.
Each summer I take Jack camping overnight. Camping can include so many different activities such as canoeing, swimming, kayaking and hiking. He loves it and we move so much because we walk everywhere on the campground and spend all of our time outside. The fresh air puts us both to sleep at night. Jack just learned to ride a 2 wheeled bike and I can see lots of biking in our future. We need to tune up our bikes and get a bike rack but I would like to take bikes with us when we go camping this summer. I’m looking forward to taking him on the BLT Trail or the Aspotogan Trail, which is close to Bayswater. You can get farther, quicker with cycling so if you like to get somewhere fast this is for you!
High ropes and ziplining are in their own category. Research shows that we don’t put our arms over our head as much as we should. Think of working at a desk, doing dishes, lifting kids. All of these are at shoulder height or lower. Raising your arms above your head improves blood flow and strength. It also uses our shoulder joint in a different way to help build the muscles. You will use all of your body’s overlooked muscles on a high ropes course. Your heart rate rises as you are challenged at a higher level. Balance improves as you hold yourself up and on the course. I love a high ropes course. It is such a challenge and if I lived closer to one I would put it into my activity routine regularly. I try to do this at least once a year.
The bottom line is to do as much movement this summer as you can. Find a favourite or try them all to keep your body guessing. If you are new to adventure activities you can start slow and stay there or work your way up. Any movement is fantastic!
Hiking: https://www.hikenovascotia.ca/, MEC has a beginning clinic on July 9th, check out their website
Kayaking: http://novashores.com/, http://www.eastcoastoutfitters.com/
Camping: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/serapprocher-connect/ltc-dlc/ltc-dlc08, my favorites: Graves Island, Blomidon, Five Islands
High Ropes: On tree (Martock), Anchors Above (Pictou County)
Paddle Boarding: Multiple places, search paddle boarding
Surfing: east coast surf school (lawrencetown), Halifax Surf School (Eastern shore), White Point Beach Lodge
Golfing: SO many places!
Cycling: BLT trail, listen to A for Ad, http://www.cyclenovascotia.ca/
Swimming: Oceans and lakes
Geocaching: https://parks.novascotia.ca/content/geocaching, https://www.geocaching.com/play
Looking to learn more: https://www.mec.ca/en/explore/learn