Step out of Your Normal Routine, Your Box, and Take Your Physical Activity Outdoors!
It’s April and its beautiful here in Cape Coral—what great timing to step outside of your box and onto the Pathway to Discovery! This 1.3-mile loop is located on the campus of Lee Health’s Cape Coral Hospital.
“The Pathway to Discovery is a tangible way to showcase the drive to be an optimal healing environment,” explains Scott Kashman, chief acute care officer with Lee Health. “It includes various aspects of health and healing, and provides a way to educate and focus the community on their health.”
Located right outside my second home—the Wellness Center – Cape Coral, the Pathway to Discovery consists of a Teaching Garden, a Healing Garden and a nice shaded path with six exercise stations that leads to a tranquil pond. The path is open to everyone, and we hope that our neighbors use the path and the equipment to improve their overall health—both physically and mentally.
Imagine combining nature, movement and sunshine to improve your health, energy level and fitness, as well as your mood. Outdoor light and breathing in fresh air increases alertness and attention. While green space impacts our mood and sense of well-being – it’s a natural and free brain and body booster! Think back to physical education, PE, when you were in school – what a sensational and freeing feeling it was to take that first step outdoors, move your body and take in the sunshine. You can have that amazing feeling again but you have to take the first step out of your normal routine (“your box”) and seize opportunities to enjoy your physical activity outdoors.
Now that you have workout options and the optimal environment, motivation may be a barrier for you. As a health & wellness coach at the Wellness Center – Cape Coral, I meet with clients and members every day to provide motivation, guidance and accountability to set and achieve goals that will improve their health and well-being through their daily lifestyles. We start by creating a wellness vision, which is a powerful motivator. To ensure that we achieve this vision, we establish weekly SMART goals—these are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based. This is where accountability becomes vital to success. Weekly check-ins ensures that we are on the right track to accomplish the goal and establish a plan of action to move around any barriers or roadblocks that could hinder our success.
A great way to help you create goals centered on taking your physical activity outdoors includes setting a step goal and utilizing the Pathway to Discovery. We know the loop is 1.3 miles, but you can keep track of your steps with a fitness tracker of some kind. There are apps available for our phones, as well. Keep a daily log of your steps, and more importantly, track how you feel before, during and after every activity. Awareness can increase your activity level and help you sit less and move more. A lot of people strive for 10,000 steps a day but I like to remind them that not every step is created equal—make your 10,000 steps count for your brain and your body. Combining activity and the beauty of being outside—now that’s what I call a natural brain and body booster!