Although the quarantine has been a nice break from urban fast paced life, many people are dealing with increased anxiety and depression. Finding creative ways to keep families physically active during these times can be a challenge. Physical activity and mental health coincide playing a vital role in motivating one another in contributing to a healthy lifestyle. Staying active is a proven method of reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety and can increase one’s self-esteem. As families spend more time together, they need to create positive lifestyle habits. Nature works to the advantage of individuals in increasing mental, physical, and spiritual health during “quarantimes”.

Living near the mountains has several advantages because of the therapeutic feel of the beautiful rivers, creeks, and trails.

It is important to take time to explore, reflect, and communicate with nature.

Jen Graham, a single mother of two, has found ways to keep her family active during this time. “During quarantine, my family and I have bonded in the outdoors. We feel fortunate to live in an area where we have the ability to hike, bike, boat, and swim so close. I have found that being outside increases our positive moods by moving in the sunshine. One of my fondest memories of this time will be the long walks and talks through the woods with my daughters.” Spending time with your family can strengthen individual mental health while building strong relationships. 

For anyone struggling to find places to be outside, there are plenty of ideas of where to start. First, a large space isn’t required to get fresh air and sunshine. Use your balconies, porches, or local parks to practice virtual workouts, yoga, or a latest dance move. Second, you can ask friends and neighbors for recommendations for hidden trails in your surrounding neighborhoods. Additionally, there is an app called AllTrails that provides detailed descriptions of nearby hikes, allowing you to tailor your hike to your fitness level and time constraints. There are lots of resources out there to help get you moving.

Now that many are working from home, it is hard to limit one’s screen time in a world that is turning mostly virtual. Make sure to take the time to get moving and get outdoors. Set breaks in your day to be outside in the sunshine. Vitamin D helps improve bone and immune system strength and is suggested as a COVID-19 preventative. Remember, being stuck AT home doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stuck IN home: get moving, get outside, and reap the benefits as your mental and physical well-being come into balance.

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