Ask Spoonful: Get Up and Go! Our Favorite Ways to Be Active

— By Spoonful Bloggers, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

There are many benefits to incorporating movement and physical activity into our lives. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults who do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week can see substantial health benefits. That’s about 20 minutes of activity every day that can reduce your risk of heart disease, depression, type 2 diabetes, and more! Keep reading to find out how our Spoonful Bloggers like to be active.

Neighborhood Stroll – Alex Gayton

One of my favorite activities is to go for a walk with my husband and kids. Our typical walk is around the neighborhood or to the playground, but I’m hoping to go on more walking adventures this summer! I won’t be committing to long hikes yet but some simple trails could be doable. My daughter is also so excited to go to the beach and swim this summer so that will be on our list too.

Yard Work Workout – Kate Yerxa

My approach to staying active changes with the seasons. When the weather is warm, I am in the garden planting flowers and vegetables, weeding, and then harvesting. In the fall and winter, I shift to raking leaves, cleaning up the flower beds and vegetable garden, and of course – shoveling snow. Knowing that I am staying active and keeping my body healthy makes the less-glamorous chores easier to complete.

Walking on Memory Lane – Kathy Savoie

I have the good fortune of living close to my best friend, so close that we can meet up to exercise together. This support system helps to keep me motivated to stay active. We’ve been BFFs since 4th grade, yup, closing in on 50 years, so we have loads to chat about as we walk 3+ miles. Our time together checks the boxes for improving not only our physical health but also our mental health! We have our favorite trail to meet at but have also explored other options at the Maine Trail Finder website when we feel the need to shake things up.

Making My Way Downtown – Alex Bosse

Since I was a kid, I’ve always had an adventurous spirit. Whether it was exploring my neighborhood as a kid or walking up and down new city streets and alleyways as an adult, I have always loved to explore. Since moving to Maine in 2020, there have been endless opportunities to explore new places, and I have found no better way to do this than walks throughout the town/city. Not only is walking a great way to stay active and get the blood flowing, but I find it to be very cathartic, as it is a great way to be mindful, reflect, and release stress. Some of my other favorite parts of walking around town are meeting new people, running into people I know, stopping to look at the beauty around you, and getting to know my city more. Whether it’s a larger city like Portland or a smaller town in Maine, walking around town has so many benefits and is even better with friends and family!

Serve Up Some Fun – Kate McCarty

I picked up pickleball during the pandemic, and I’ve really fallen in love with the sport. I bought an inexpensive paddle at my nearest sporting goods store and took a series of lessons at my city’s rec center. I’ve been playing 2 to 3 times a week ever since. They say if you can run 8 feet and have decent hand-eye coordination, you can learn to play. It’s popular with all ages and genders so I have made so many new friends through the sport, including people I wouldn’t have otherwise met in my community. It offers a great mental challenge too as you explore the more advanced levels of strategic play. Pickleball has brought me many more benefits than the physical health aspect!

Weights and Dates – Kayla Parsons

Life can get busy trying to balance a healthy diet, work, school and relationships. To make it a little more manageable, I love planning workout dates with my fiance. This usually includes deciding what muscle group we want to work on, followed by contemplating on what delicious, healthy food we’re going to enjoy afterwards. During the height of the pandemic, we had to get crafty and build our own weights using gallon jugs and old broomstick handles (not the most durable set-up, if I’m being honest). Now, you can generally find us at the gym, but some days we enjoy hiking on local trails, biking or simply playing with our puppy outside. Being around someone who enjoys the same joyful movement as you can help sustain positive health behaviors, and inadvertently strengthen your relationship!