It feels like summertime in Michigan and it’s almost officially here, which means more people are headed outdoors as a welcome change to their exercise routines. Whether you are a seasoned athlete, a weekend warrior or can’t remember the last time you wore tennis shoes to do something active, this season is perfect for getting some extra steps in.
Henry Ford Health medical professionals also take advantage of the warmer weather and longer days, and share what they enjoy doing this time of year to stay active and why exercise is so important to overall health and wellness.
Christina Eyers, Ed.D., AT, ATC, Athletic trainer
Favorite summer exercise activity: Getting outside and doing yard work. It is amazing how many different muscles you use for yard cleanup, weeding, mulching and getting the yard summer-ready.
Also, with the warmer weather, I enjoy getting the dog outside and going for longer walks and running or playing fetch.
How do you feel when you’ve been consistent with your exercise routine?: I really do notice increased energy and less stress, and I feel much better than when I am sedentary. Sometimes when I am on a call I will walk outside or walk around a track which allows me to get some exercise in while taking care of work.
What advice do you have to motivate others to get active?: Start small and don’t let setbacks stop you. Find a buddy (even a four-legged friend!) to get you up and moving.
Bridget McArdle, D.O., Pediatrician
Favorite summer exercise activity: I enjoy walking, hiking in the woods, yoga and biking.
Why is exercise so important?: It keeps you healthy by reducing diseases and other conditions (diabetes, bone disease and high blood pressure, for example), it helps with weight control, and it improves overall mood and energy levels.
What can parents do to make sure their kids are exercising enough?: There are many things, but enrolling kids in organized activities, doing exercise together – going for a walk or a bike ride – or just taking your kids to the local park so they can run around and play are all great ways to keep your kids active.
Justin Bright, M.D., Emergency medicine physician
Favorite summer exercise activity: It’s golf season! I play as much as humanly possible. I try to increase my activity level by walking from shot to shot even when we take a golf cart. If you play and walk the entire time, that’s a 5-mile walk over changing terrain, and it definitely gives you a workout while you’re having fun.
How often do you exercise each week?: I’m in the gym at least three times a week. My work schedule is erratic, which makes some weeks easier than others. And there’s times when I have to choose either getting to the gym or playing golf. Golf always wins!
How do you feel when you haven’t been active for a few days?: As I said, my schedule as an ER doctor is very erratic, so I can’t schedule in the same time every day and get into a routine. There are times when it is a real struggle to get into the gym. If I have a streak of days where I don’t get in, I definitely feel a bit sluggish, and I start to feel very guilty.
What’s your workout motivation?: Hitting the golf ball harder and farther! In my mind, I’m training to get onto the PGA tour.
Rebecca Kurtz, Exercise physiologist
Favorite summer exercise activity: I’ve been a triathlete for years, but running is by far my favorite. To me, there is nothing like the feeling of a good run. My favorite is to get out on some trails in the woods. It helps to clear my head and bring me balance.
How do you feel when you are consistent with your exercise routine?: My mood is definitely better and I have more energy throughout my days when I exercise regularly. If I have had a bad day, the first thing I reach for are my running shoes.
How do you feel when you haven’t been active in a few days?: My overall well-being and satisfaction in life goes down when I haven’t exercised in a few days. Even at my busiest, I try to carve out a little bit of time to get out for a run or a bike ride. I’m better able to handle what life throws at me that way.
What advice do you have to motivate others to get active?: If you don’t feel like exercising, tell yourself you will do just 10 minutes. Most of the time, once someone is exercising for 10 minutes, they will continue on and do their whole exercise session.
George Wilson, M.D., Family medicine physician
Favorite summer exercise activity: I enjoy walking the parks of Metro Detroit – not only because I like to spend time outside, but walking is also a good, low-impact exercise. I have walked the Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon, and I plan on doing so again this fall.
How do you feel when you are consistent with your exercise routine?: I feel a sense of accomplishment that I maintained my goals of balancing work and other activities that are important to me. When I keep to a regular schedule of activity, I am better equipped to manage other aspects of my life.
How can families stay active together?: Families are confronted with so many daily activities that it is important to schedule healthy activity together. Each week, families should add at minimum one healthy activity during the week and one on the weekend to their calendar. Since children are often involved in sports, planning a kayaking trip, or going biking or hiking are all good alternatives for time spent together.
Nalinikumari Gandhe, M.D., Internal medicine physician
Favorite summer exercise activity: I enjoy walking outside, workouts with a hula-hoop and dumbbells and playing outside with my kids – they help me reduce stress and improve my stamina.
Why is exercise so important?: It helps with so many aspects of health. It decreases the risk of heart problems like hypertension and diabetes, improves sleep, reduces anxiety and depression, and more.
What advice do you have to motivate others to get active?: Just keep moving, and find something you enjoy doing. Whether you work out with family or friends, go to group classes, join a sport team or do yard work, you’ll be more likely to stick with the exercise if you like doing it.