Take it outside

Working out can be a chore, drudgery akin to dusting ceiling fan blades or vacuuming under the bed. It can also be a joy. A lot depends on your personality type and exercise of choice. We don’t recommend going straight from the couch to dead lifts.

What we do suggest is finding others to work out with and to, whenever possible, take it outside. The best case scenario is when workout time can be considered playtime. Plans for a new adult playground to be located at Knowlton Park in Ellsworth will offer just that opportunity. The city and Friends in Action have received a $40,000 grant to install fitness equipment, game tables and benches. Friends in Action raised the money to match the grant. Construction could start this coming spring.

Parks are often designed almost exclusively with children in mind, but parks — and play — are for everyone. Many working adults spend their days tied to computer screens. We could use some fresh air and fun. So could retirees and people of all ages. Staying active and socially connected is good medicine both mentally and physically. Healthy adults are more likely to live longer and live better and they set a good example for the next generation. Better to show than to tell.

The Down East Family YMCA has offered free Tuesday evening outdoor exercise classes this summer, also in Knowlton Park, so anyone could join in for yoga, step aerobics, Zumba or a bootcamp. There are adult softball leagues, walking clubs, running groups, dance lessons, Tai chi classes and a host of other fitness opportunities in the area. That’s not to mention beautiful hiking and biking trails and fresh and saltwater swimming opportunities.

These days there are fewer pickup ball games and neighborhood gatherings. Adults and children have tightly scheduled days. Squeezing in time for unstructured or lightly structured play is an important release valve for a pressure-cooker lifestyle. We could all use a prescription for fun.

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