By Amanda Smith, Rebecca Richardville and Walker McCrary, YMCA of Vincennes
These are trying times that we’re facing. As millions of Americans battle COVID-19, it’s vital that we do our best to maintain a healthy immune system.
That’s why a consistent physical-fitness routine is so important, for both our physical and mental well-being. Numerous studies show moderate activity on a regular basis helps boost the body’s immune system. Many activities offer much needed socialization during these times as well — from an appropriate social distance, of course!
Swimming and water aerobics
Swimming and water aerobics are great workouts for cardiovascular health. Good cardiovascular health is key to preventing heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and more. Swimming helps build strength while putting less strain on the joints. Taking a water-aerobics class provides the same benefits of lap swimming with an added social aspect. Jump in the pool with a group of friends and get moving.
Walking and hiking
Walking and hiking can also provide a great cardio workout. A brisk 30-minute walk each day can provide the same cardiovascular benefits as swimming. Walking outdoors (weather permitting) allows for some great scenery viewing. Grab a friend, even a furry 4-legged one, and check out some of the great walking paths that our city and the surrounding area have to offer. Ouabache Trails, Gregg Park,and the downtown Riverwalk are all low-traffic, safe areas to enjoy nature.
Biking is another great form of cardio exercise. Biking can be done on an indoor stationary bike or one can bike on the streets. Biking can be a solitary or social workout. Join local cycling groups by searching on Facebook and other social-media sites to connect with other cyclists.
Yoga is a low-impact workout with numerous benefits. Yoga can be done in the traditional form (a yoga mat rolled out on the floor) or it can be done seated in a chair. Yoga can increase flexibility and balance, both of which tend to decrease as we age. The relaxing element of a yoga practice can help decrease stress and anxiety and increase mood. Better sleep is also a benefit of yoga. Yoga can be practiced at a local studio or gym or done in the comfort of your own home. There are many resources available through books, videos and apps.
Pickleball is the latest craze to hit the Vincennes area. It’s a paddle sport played with a wiffleball on a badminton court using a tennis net. The game is played with two teams consisting of two players. It provides a great opportunity for socializing during a great workout. Multiple towns in the surrounding area have built new pickleball court facilities. Gregg Park and the YMCA of Vincennes are two places to play pickleball.
Golf has been one of America’s favorite pastimes for more than 100 years and shows no signs of losing popularity. Golf is popular among men and women and provides a social experience as well as a low-impact workout. Both the Country Club of Old Vincennes and High Pointe Country Club are well-maintained golf courses in Knox County. There’s also Waggoner’s Driving Range for you to improve your game. Leagues and tournaments are also offered at area golf courses.
It’s more important now than ever before for us to stay physically active. There are plenty of options locally to keep your mind, body and spirit healthy and we encourage you to get out and explore what Knox County has to offer. You may be surprised by what your new favorite pastime could be.