Benefits of Being Outdoors and Physical Activity

Boy playing outsideWe may have a stay at home order, but that doesn’t mean we need to stay inside. The weather is getting nice, and there are many health benefits to exercising outdoors. Remember, even when outdoors, to practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from others.

Here are some of the health benefits:

You will be happier. Exercising outdoors isn’t just good for your physical health.  It helps with your mental health as well. Spending time in nature and the natural light can improve your mood and reduce stress and depression. Engaging in physical activity produces similar benefits and often times relaxes and cheers people up.

Your self-esteem will improve. Outdoor exercise stimulates all five senses in a way that indoor activities cannot. Additionally, being out in nature impacts the brain in a positive way, making you feel better about yourself.

Vitamin D levels go up. Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is made in the skin when it’s exposed to sunlight. Studies suggest that Vitamin D may have protective effects against everything from osteoporosis to cancer to depression to heart attacks and stroke. Keep in mind, that too much sun can damage your skin. You only need about 10-15 minutes of sun several days a week during the warm weather. Use sunscreen if you plan to be outside for an extended amount of time.

You will exercise longer and burn more calories. Research shows that those who exercise outdoors burn 10% more calories when they walk or run than they do when they work out on a treadmill at the same speed. When exercising outdoors, the distractions of your surroundings take your mind off the work of working out. As a result, there’s a much greater chance that you’ll end up exercising longer than you would if you were exercising indoors. Another bonus, kids are twice as active when they play outside.

Take advantage of the beautiful weather and enjoy the extra benefits of physical activity outside!

Sources: WebMD & Harvard Health Publishing

Visiting Parks and Recreational Facilities

ODH Orders and Guidelines

Click HERE for more information on orders and guidance about public pools and sports and sports leagues.

Water Safety in Rivers, Creeks, Lakes and Beaches

We know this summer in Franklin County will look a lot different, and one of those differences will be less pools open. This is a great year to explore our natural water and here are some tips to remember as you do:

Know Your Swimming Level

  • Swimming in natural water requires more skill and strength to handle moving water than swimming in a pool. Know your swimming abilities and only swim where you are comfortable.
  • Always swim with a buddy and watch out for each other.
  • Pool noodles, inner tubes, and pool toys are not life-saving devices. Wear a life vest if you’re boating or are a weak swimmer.
  • Never dive into water you cannot see the bottom of or push someone.
  • Any time children are in the water, whether at a pool or natural source, always watch them. Drownings can happen quickly even in shallow water.

Beware of Your Surroundings/Environment

  • Be weather aware, especially when away from the shore.
  • Watch out for undertows, currents, waves, and possible hazards below the water’s surface.
  • Avoid deep or fast-moving water.
  • Don’t jump or walk on rocks in the water.
  • Always read posted signs about warnings.

Other health reminders

  • Learn Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) or take a first aid class to know what to do in an emergency.
  • Alcohol can impair your ability to swim, supervise children or steer a boat and can make you dehydrated faster.
  • Bring your sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitizer and face coverings to use/apply when you are not swimming.
  • Stay six feet or more from other parties and do not gather in groups of 10 or more.
  • Seek shade when you are getting too hot.
  • Make sure your pet is vaccinated against rabies, if you bring them along.

For more tips, go to

Water Safety

Drowning and Water Skills

Drownings and Distractions