With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to start planning outdoor activities with friends and family. From the waterfront in downtown Buffalo to the wooded trails of Clarence, Western New York is home to many scenic gems. Physical activity and fresh air have a positive effect on your energy and mood, so why not get moving outside? We’ve narrowed down a list of five great ways to take advantage of all the healthy fun our community has to offer.
- Endless opportunities at Canalside
Whether it’s running along the water or participating in a yoga class on the grassy earth, Canalside offers an array of traditional and unique activities. Test the waters and rent a water bike! You can ride down the canal and see historic sites along the way. Being near water will help you feel more calm and relaxed, which enables many health benefits – from stress reduction to heart protection. Canalside is the perfect place for people who want to be active in a peaceful, yet social, setting. (While you’re there, you can even hang a bell for a cancer survivor!)
- Take a hike
Hiking is a great way to change up your normal exercise routine. Instead of adjusting resistance and intensity on a machine, nature does it for you. Within an hour's drive, you are guaranteed to find many beautiful nature parks with hiking trails of varying difficulty, length and scenery. Some park favorites are Chestnut Ridge where you can see the famous eternal flame, Akron Falls and “the Grand Canyon of the East” – Letchworth State Park.
- A walk in the park
Sometimes you jut want to keep things simple. If you’re looking for a place to stroll around at your leisure, check out a local park or garden. De-stress by taking a walk at any of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks; you can even pack a healthy lunch or bring a tennis racket to make a day of it. If colorful flowers and fragrant plants enliven you, check out the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Wandering through nature can put you in a meditative state by giving your brain a break and allowing you to connect with your physical body.
- Water adventures
Craving more excitement? Try canoeing or rafting through the waters of Zoar Valley! “You'll view rugged cliffs hundreds of feet high, waterfalls (both free falling and hidden by old growth stands of oak, hemlock and tulip), nesting bald eagles and you'll experience the finest white water west of the Adirondacks.” Canoeing and kayaking are great forms of cardiovascular exercise and can help you maintain a healthy weight, something that’s especially important for cancer survivors.
- Beach fun
With the abundance of waterways in the region, WNY is home to many beaches. These sandy shores are not only places to relax with friends and family, but they provide a great venue for outdoor activities that require some space. Grab your friends for beach volleyball or Kan Jam, bond with your significant other over a game of Frisbee and hop in the water to splash around and get your blood moving. And always remember that, although some sun exposure can help maintain your vitamin D levels, you should never forget to wear sunscreen!
What are you waiting for? Get outside and get moving!