Today is April 6 and it is still overcast, cold, and windy in Michigan. How many sunny days do Michigan residents actually get? Based on studies from bestplaces.net, Michigan averages about 180 sunny days per year, which is lower than the average state. While there’s a higher percentage of sunny days between the months of May and September, weather plays a big role in our physical activities. Only the brave set outdoors to run during blizzards or rainy weather! What we don’t seem to get during non-summer seasons is the sun beaming down or the fresh air keeping us cool during our runs or sports games. Summertime in Michigan means utilizing the sun and beautiful weather to it’s full advantage! Believe it or not, outdoor recreation activities benefit our social, emotional, and intellectual well-being, along with our physical well-being.
According to healthguide.org, “People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. And it’s also powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges.” These benefits are amplified with safe levels of sun exposure, which is one of the main reasons I savor every minute of my outdoor workouts. With sunshine comes increased production of vitamin D, melatonin and happier moods. I always keep a bottle of sweat-proof sunscreen or a hat in my gym bag, taking extra precaution if I am spending more than thirty minutes in the sun.
If you live within driving distance to Oakland University in Rochester, MI, or any nearby college campus, be sure to keep the outdoor amenities in mind. The weather is slowly changing, and the opportunity will come about soon! Here is some information on how I utilize my collegiate campus to the fullest during the few months of sunshine.
What is the Outdoor Complex?
Oakland University Recreation and Well-Being (Rec Well) maintains an outdoor complex which includes the super-field lined for different sports, turf fields, softball field overlays, tennis courts, an outdoor track, golf course, and a support building. These are located past the recreation building and across from the George T. Matthews Apartment complex. The operational season starts on April 1 and ends October 31 of each year.
Playing Your Favorite Outdoor Sports
Being an avid tennis player since a young age, I love to gather a group or play one-on-one on the tennis courts behind the track. The support building will especially come in handy, with a $1 tennis racquet rental for the one who forgets their racquet. Soccer balls, footballs, and frisbees are available for checkout as well. One of the reasons I have stayed so loyal to the great game of tennis is because of the social benefits. Two or more people are always needed, and it is the type of sport that can be casually taken up or played very seriously. You can start at any age, and only get better with practice! The outdoor complex has 8 courts that are open from dawn until dusk. I always find myself getting together with some friends to play during the summer.
Switch Up Your Running Routine
To stay fit and have fun during the summer, I also tend to switch up my running routine. Running indoors on the treadmill can be very monotone and boring. It is so hard to stay motivated when you are not having fun! With the outdoor track and trail routes available, there are endless opportunities to head outdoors for your summer runs. According to livestrong.com, the difference in terrain and wind speed, uphills and downhills, and various muscle activations are just a few of the small things that make a huge difference when it comes to running outside versus on a treadmill.
My running routine varies and ends up being very fun with the outdoor complex. I usually use the outdoor track for sprinting, and even sometimes create mini circuits with the 70 yard by 120 yard marked soccer field inside the track, sprinting from line to line and seeing how fast I can go. I even recreate the stair climb machine with the bleachers, running up and down the steps as fast as I can. Rec Well’s outdoor complex also has its own running/walking routes. The 2.3 mile loop, 4.3 mile loop, or 6.5 mile loop are great scenic routes for those inclined to have a run or hike with a view. It is not rare for the light 2.3 mile loop to be my cool down after running miles of sprints.
Getting creative with the outdoor complex is not hard. It is almost irresistible to create new exercises; I definitely let my imagination take control. Whether it is a competitive game of tennis, variety of sprinting, or a relaxing walk, the amenities of the outdoor complex will always remain a staple of my summer activities. I highly encourage students to consider the possibilities of creating new memories using Rec Well’s outdoor amenities, all while soaking up some vitamin D and dwelling in the benefits of healthy physical activity.