When February rolls around, many immediately think roses, chocolates, or love. Some may freeze at the thought of more snow or chilly temperatures, while others consider their New Year’s resolutions. February also reminds us to take care of our hearts because it celebrates American Heart Month. According to the American Heart Association, 30 minutes of daily exercise can lower a person’s risk of heart disease. Are you kidding me? 30 minutes with my busy schedule? No, we aren’t kidding. 30 minutes (1,800 seconds to be exact) of daily exercise can restore your physical health. Exercising outdoors has the potential to restore emotional and mental health too! The crisp air, natural sounds and scenery awakens senses that indoor workout machines, TVs, or computers cannot.
As we move into the final two weeks of 2011’s American Heart Month, make a point to get your 30 minutes outside. Take three 10-minute walks around your neighborhood or walk to the store instead of driving. Take a walk during all or part of your lunch break at work. When you return, I guarantee you will have more energy and an improved mood, which may lead to greater productivity.
This month, it is fitting to highlight Hart Park, a 19.5-acre park located at 1299 N. 72nd street in Wauwatosa. Hart Park, founded in 1921, connects to other treasures of Milwaukee County Parks via the Oak Leaf Trail. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Menomonee River, and lush wooded areas while walking, running, or snowshoeing your way through the park. Rent a pair of snowshoes about 10 miles away at REI Brookfield (0). Call REI for current rental information at 262-783-6150.
The Milwaukee area has many winter recreational opportunities to get in our 30 minutes a day:
Try cross-country skiing at Brown Deer Park (7835 N. Green Bay Rd). Brown Deer’s groomed ski trails are ready for you! Whitnall Park’s lightly groomed trails (6751 S. 92 St; 414-425-1810) offers ski rentals for $25.00/day. Whitnall Park is open Saturdays, 11 a.m.–8 p.m & Sundays: noon–6 p.m.
Imagine you are an Olympic figure skater at Red Arrow Park (920 N. Water Street; 414-289-8791) located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. The outdoor rink is surrounded by lights at night and has a warming house with restrooms, coffee, snacks, and skate rentals for $7.00. They are open Monday-Thursday, 11am-11pm (rentals begin at pm) and Friday-Saturday, 11am-11pm, and Sunday 11am-6pm. On the weekends, rentals are offered from open to close. Need to practice indoors first? Visit the Petit National Ice Center (http://www.thepettit.com/) or Wilson Park Ice Arena (4001 S. 20th Street; 414-281-6289). Both facilities provide skate rentals for a small fee.
For the adrenaline-junkies, check out the lighted sledding hills for day or nighttimefun at one of the following parks:
Brown Deer,7835 N. Green Bay Rd., lit until 8pm
Currie, 3535 N. Mayfair Rd., lit until 9pm
Humboldt, 3000 S. Howell Ave., lit until 8pm
Pulaski (Milwaukee), 2677 S. 16 St., lit until 10pm
Whitnall, 5879 S. 92 St., lit until 10pm
As always, if the National Weather Service issues a cold weather or wind-chill advisory, be sure to contact the park before you go.
How will you get in your 30 minutes a day? Whether you choose to walk, sled, or skate there, the Milwaukee area has many resources to offer. Take some time to share with others what winter activity you chose to complete this month. I look forward to seeing your responses!