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Exercise Ideas

Spring is a great time to thaw out and get jobs done around the house, Summer is the perfect time for being outdoors, Autumn all about getting ready for Winter, and Winter is the perfect time to curl up in front of the fire with a book (and maybe an occasional small piece of cake!) … so when is the perfect time for exercise? Spring is busy, Summer is hot, Autumn is Easter (and associated chocolate binge!) and Winter is way too cold. These exercise ideas should help you through all seasons while keeping exercise fun.

So, how do we stay active?  First, it is important to focus on the positives for each season. Different seasons give you the opportunity to change your exercise program and come up with new and exciting exercise ideas.  This helps to prevent boredom setting in and gives us the opportunity to do different things with the family, while staying healthy and happy all year round.

Spring is the perfect time to get out for some gardening with your family. Why not  plan and plant a veggie garden, and watch the kids take an interest in vegetables that you never thought possible!  Not only will your insides (and hip pocket) benefit from growing your own food, but you will get some much-needed exercise into your day too. Did you know that gardening involves three types of exercise – endurance, flexibility and strength?  All three are required to get the lawn and the veggies looking great.  Best of all, it is exercise with a purpose – you are doing something practical. Rather than think about gardening as just a series of chores, maybe think about getting onto the backyard as a rewarding project and doing it for a set amount of time – say 45 minutes.  At the end of that time, whether all of the jobs are finished or not, you can put down your tools. That way, you will look forward to coming back!

Summer is a great opportunity to head down to a local park with your family and friends. Use the opportunity to organise a picnic with your friends at a park that has plenty of grass and a playground.  Take along a couple of pieces of sports equipment – maybe a ball, cricket set or frisbee, and watch the fun unfold through the day.  Talk about killing 2 birds with one stone – you get to catch up with friends and get some exercise in the fresh air.  What could make you happier! Plus the kids will sleep well at the end of a long day at the park.

Autumn is when you can relax from the heat of Summer and still enjoy temperate weather in most parts of New Zealand. Autumn is a great time to start a formal exercise program.  The rush of Christmas and the school holidays are over, and the weather is still beautiful even if the days are getting shorter.  Why not head to the beach for an afternoon walk without the crowds? It’s also time to start looking around for a local club if you want to register for a team sport. Rather than just signing the kids up, why not join yourself – that way the whole family can go to the same place to play!

Winter is tougher because of the colder weather, especially if you live in the lower South Island – but cold weather is no excuse!  The key is staying disciplined – invest in gloves and a beanie and some warm clothes and you are ready to tackle the great outdoors.  Winter is a great time of the year to discover New Zealand’s beautiful national parks.  There are brilliant bush walks to be done all over the country, and a crisp Winter’s day is the perfect time to enjoy – without the crowds, flies or heat! Just remember to pack some snacks, water and a map, and let someone know your intended route. When you get home, finish off your day with numerous stretching exercises in front of the heater or your favourite TV program, and think about your great summer body!

Good luck, and remember, being out in the great outdoors is one of the best things about living in New Zealand.




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