Hey Michiganders! Do you remember the last eight months of cold weather we just had? Of course you do, how could you forget. Well, it’s finally your favorite season – summer! And with that said, there isn’t any reason you (or anyone) shouldn’t be spending some time outside, right?
Sadly, we know that isn’t always the case. Life likes to keep us busy with work, family, household chores, etc. But we didn’t endure the last eight months of cold and snow just to spend more time distracted indoors.
With that said, I’d like to highlight the outdoor opportunities our great state of Michigan has to offer. Time and time again we are reminded of the importance of physical activity, but that doesn’t mean we have to get up at 5am to go to the gym before work. You could obtain that exercise by spending an entire day walking the trails at a state park, kayaking or canoeing the Huron River, or on the bike trails between Dexter and Ann Arbor.
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days per week. That’s only a total of two and a half hours! But imagine if you spent your entire Saturday outdoors with friends or family at a park? That could easily add up to a nice five-hour day of fresh air! Some of the health benefits of exercise include weight maintenance, improving cholesterol and overall heart health, and feeling more energized.
Even doctors are promoting more time outdoors. On June 1st, the Vermont Public Radio published an article about a group of physicians throughout the state writing prescriptions for their patients to spend more time outside and included free entry to the Vermont State Parks. While it is great to see health professionals promoting physical activity, we must admit that this isn’t a new philosophy. We have been playing outdoors since we were children, yet somehow we lost touch with our inner child that ran around catching lightning bugs until our parents called us indoors.
Here in Michigan, we are lucky to have access to some beautiful parks and trails located near most towns, and we are surrounded by lakes. Whether it is walking around your neighborhood, checking out what the local Parks and Recreation Department has to offer in your town, or venturing to one of Michigan’s state parks, make it your goal this summer to spend some time outdoors. Get more than the recommended amount of physical activity without even realizing it! Enjoy the sun and soak up that Vitamin D! Those winter months will creep back before you know it.
Check out the state parks closest to you on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ website and plan your next (or first!) outdoor activity this summer.
Parks located in and around Ann Arbor:
- Gallup Park
- Waterloo Recreation Area
- Pinckney Recreation Area
- Lakelands Trail State Park
- Brighton Recreation Area
- Maybury State Park
- Island Lake Recreation Area
- Hayes State Park