Habit-Stack Your Way to More Movement

We know what you’re thinking — what is habit stacking?

The idea behind habit stacking is simple: add a new behavior to your daily schedule by “stacking it” on top of an existing habit. The concept of habit stacking was pioneered by James Clear, author of the New York Times bestseller, Atomic Habits, and it is designed to help individuals incorporate more healthy behaviors into their lives without disrupting their normal routine. Seamlessly incorporating physical activity throughout the day can lead to weight loss and reduced instances of chronic illnesses such as diabetes or hypertension.

For example, many of us make coffee in the morning, and, whether you’re using a drip pot or French press, the brewing process takes between 5 – 10 minutes. During the time you wait for your coffee, you can easily add a new better-for-you behavior into your schedule, such as a few sets of high knees or a light jog-in-place.

By stacking enough of these habits, you’ll effectively incorporate a surprising amount of extra physical activity into your daily routine without even realizing it.

Coffee’s brewing: Run in place

Coffee takes between 5 – 10 minutes to brew, so put that time to good use every morning with some running in place. A brief aerobic workout — whether it’s walking, jogging, or running — can improve your endurance, lung capacity, circulation, and weight management.

Shower’s getting warm: Do calf raises

It takes a few minutes for the shower to warm up, but in that short amount of time, before stepping into the shower, you can be adding definition and strength to your calves. Calf raises improve strength and stability, making it easier to avoid injuries like a sprain or rolled ankle. A calf raise is easy to do and requires little room, just stand up straight and push through the balls of your feet until you are standing on your toes; if you feel like you’re off-balance, try holding on to a ledge or counter to stabilize yourself. Then slowly lower your feet back to the starting position.

Oatmeal’s in the microwave: Do countertop pushups

Oatmeal is just one example of a breakfast food that requires a little bit of time to prepare. While you’re waiting for the water to boil (or whole grain bread to toast), try doing some countertop pushups to strengthen your upper body. To do the exercise, face the countertop and place hands on the edge, around shoulder-width apart. Step your feet backward and lift your heels up so your body is in a plank position. Slowly lower your chest toward the counter, keeping your forearms parallel to each other; press your body back to the starting position and repeat. If countertop pushups are too strenuous, try a modified wall push-up instead.

Your favorite news show is on: Try a sun salutation

Watching television can be relaxing in itself, but adding a sun salutation into the mix will relieve both your body and mind. Serving as the backbone of many yoga traditions, the sun salutation is a simple yet powerful sequence of movements that stretches every part of the body. Check out our sun salutation infographic to see how to properly perform each step.

Working on your laptop: Stretch your shoulders

Many of us use a laptop for work and recreation, but time spent sitting at your computer can also be used as a chance to stretch out your chests and shoulders. For the stretch, lock your fingers behind your head and push your elbows backwards while squeezing with your upper back until you feel a stretch in your chest near your underarms. Hold for 20–30 seconds and repeat.

Brushing your teeth: Walk around the house

When it comes to brushing your teeth, dentists recommend the 2-2 rule: brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time — that’s four minutes of just staring at the mirror! Put that time to good use and walk around the house as you brush. It may not seem like a lot, but a couple minutes of walking can help with your balance, flexibility, and range of motion. For an added burn, turn your mini walks into hikes by going up and down the stairs.

Make it a Biketober and Walktober Weekend!

Gear up for an action-packed weekend with our Biketober and Walktober events!

Biketober Highlights:

  • Bikes & Brews: Friday Night! 🍻🚴‍♂️
    Join us for a thrilling cycling experience on Friday, October 6th, at 6:30 p.m. Meet in front of @guildjourneyman, 115 Clairemont Ave, and let’s hit the road together.
  • Saturday Ride: October 7th at 10 a.m. 🌞
    Embrace the morning breeze and scenic views on our Saturday ride. Get ready to pedal your way to a fantastic weekend!

Walktober Adventures:

  • Art Walk: October 8th at 2 p.m. 🎨
    Explore the artistic side of Decatur! Join us for an Art Walk on October 8th, starting at 2 p.m. Meet at the Community Bandstand on the Decatur Square. Co-sponsored by the Decatur Pedestrian Advisory Committee, these walks will be led by Angie Macon of the Decatur Arts Alliance.

Decatur Historic Cemetery Tour:

  • Second Sunday Tour: October 8th at 2:30 p.m. 🌳
    Don’t miss the last Second Sunday tour of the season at the Decatur Historic Cemetery! Hosted by Friends of Decatur Cemetery, these captivating tours happen every Second Sunday, May through October. Meet at the wellhouse/gazebo in the Historic Old Section at 2:30 p.m. for an enriching journey through history.

Get ready for a weekend filled with outdoor adventures, community spirit, and the beauty of Decatur!

Walktober!

Looking for a fun and rewarding way to embrace a healthier lifestyle? Look no further than Walktober, a celebration of all things walking!

Why Walktober?
Walking is not just a stroll in the park; it’s a journey to better health, both physically and mentally. As we step into October, join us in making walking a daily habit. The benefits are numerous and impactful:

  1. Physical Fitness: Walking is a low-impact exercise that’s suitable for all fitness levels. It helps improve cardiovascular health, enhance endurance, and maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Mental Well-Being: Enjoy the therapeutic effects of a leisurely walk. It’s proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, leaving you feeling refreshed and revitalized.
  3. Connection with Community: Walking brings people together. Whether it’s a stroll with neighbors or a walk in a local park, it fosters a sense of community and belonging.
  4. Creativity Boost: Need to clear your mind? Walking has been linked to increased creativity. Take a walk, let your thoughts flow, and see the ideas bloom.

Walktober Bingo: Fun, Fitness, and Prizes!
To add an exciting twist to your walking routine, participate in our Walktober Bingo challenge. Here’s how it works:

  1. Pick up a Bingo Card: Visit any of our three recreation centers to grab your Walktober Bingo Card. It’s your roadmap to a month of walking adventures! Or print the card off from this post.
  2. Complete the Challenges: Each square on the Bingo Card presents a unique walking challenge. Explore your neighborhood, parks, and trails while ticking off the activities.
  3. Capture the Moments: Take pictures as you complete the spaces.
  4. Submit for a Chance to Win: Completed the card? Share your pictures with us and get entered into a raffle to win one of five exclusive Decatur 200th Birthday Swag Bags. It’s a celebration, and you could be a winner!

Join the Walktober Movement!
Walktober is more than just a month-long event; it’s a commitment to a healthier, happier you. Lace-up those walking shoes, embrace the beauty of fall, and step into a new level of well-being.

5 Simple Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

Your most useful piece of fitness equipment is always close by. Yes, we’re talking about your body. Bodyweight exercises, also known as calisthenics, are beneficial to people of all ability levels.

First off, they’re free and convenient, so you can save the roughly $500-$1000 you’d be paying in yearly gym fees, while also being able to work out whenever you want. Second, calisthenics are incredibly effective forms of exercise, and you’ll start seeing results from only a few short sessions. Using bodyweight improves both your endurance and strength, making these exercises a cross between strength-training and cardio. Finally, the versatility and flexibility of calisthenics means you can target a variety of different muscle groups in a matter of moments.

This Monday, try to boost your fitness routine with these 5 simple bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere.

Arm Circles

A simple way to warm up your arms and shoulders, and improve flexibility and range of motion.

  1. Stand with your arms extended by your sides, perpendicular to your torso.
  2. Slowly move your arms in clockwise circles about 1 foot in diameter for 20—30 seconds.
  3. After, reverse the movement, going counterclockwise.
  4. Make bigger or smaller circles to target different areas of your shoulders, triceps, and biceps

Calf Raises

One of the most convenient exercises, calf raises can help strengthen and tone your calf muscles with minimal effort.

  1. From a standing position, raise yourself up on your toes, making sure to keep your heels on the floor.
  2. When your toes are fully extended, hold for a second before returning to the starting position.
  3. Repeat the motion until you start feeling a warmth in your calves.

Squats

The squat targets the lower-body muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart (a little wider is okay, too).
  2. Slowly crouch by bending your knees until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor.
  3. Remember to keep your heels firmly on the ground, and make sure they do not rise off the floor.
  4. Push through using your heels to return to standing position.

Plank

Strengthen your abdominal muscles and improve your balance with this classic core-building exercise.

  1. Lay on your stomach with forearms on the floor in front of you.
  2. Extend your legs behind you and raise your body so that you’re supported by your toes and forearms.
  3. Keeping your body straight, tighten your abdominal muscles and hold the position for 30-60 seconds.
  4. Each day you do the plank position, aim to extend the length of your hold.

Push-up

With proper form, the classic push-up hits nearly every muscle above the waist. There are many different variations on the push-up, so do the one that is right for you.

  1. Start in a plank position: both hands on the floor shoulder-width apart, arms locked at the elbow, back straight and aligned with hips, and feet shoulder-width apart. Try to think of the body as one giant line.
  2. Your chest/nipple should be directly over your thumb nail. Fingers should be splayed, and your hands should be in a comfortable position on the floor.
  3. Inhale as you slowly lower your chest down to the floor, and exhale as you push the palms of your hands into the floor, bringing your torso, thighs, and chest off the ground.
  4. Return to starting plank position and pause a second before the next repetition. Aim for 3-4 sets of 15 reps.

Art Walks in Decatur!

Downtown Decatur has always been a vibrant hub, brimming with creativity and culture. Among the many facets that make this community so unique, public art stands tall as a testament to the city’s commitment to artistic expression. Have you ever strolled through these charming streets and wondered about the stories behind the sculptures, murals, and installations? Or perhaps you’ve missed some of these artistic gems tucked away in corners waiting to be discovered.

If you share our curiosity or want to explore Decatur in a new light, we invite you to join us on Sunday, October 1st and 8th at 2 p.m. for a captivating journey through the city’s public art landscape. These guided walking tours promise not only to reveal the narratives behind the art but also to unveil hidden treasures you may have missed.

On October 1, we will cover the east side of downtown Decatur and on October 8, we will cover the west side of downtown Decatur. Co-sponsored by the Decatur Bike & Pedestrian Advisory Committee, these walks will be led by Angie Macon of the Decatur Arts Alliance. Meet at Community Bandstand for these enjoyable and informative FREE walking tours. 

McKoy Skate Park Redesign and Renovations

Starting Monday, September 25th, the Mckoy Skate Park will be temporarily closed to the public for an exciting redesign and renovation project. We’re gearing up to bring you an even better skating experience!

While we’re hard at work making these improvements, stay tuned to our website page for updates on our progress. We can’t wait to unveil the revamped park and provide you with an incredible skating environment.

Thank you for your understanding, and we look forward to welcoming you back soon!

5 Healthy Reward Ideas for Exercise Well Done!

Healthy Fitness Reward Ideas

You’ve stuck with it and now it’s time for you to enjoy a well-earned exercise reward in celebration of keeping up your physical activity routine. Pick Monday to give yourself the gift of self-care.

It’s time for reflection. Take a moment to contemplate how far you’ve come in your fitness journey. Have you gotten stronger, made and achieved fitness goals, achieved a healthy weight, or done all four?  It’s definitely time for an exercise reward – so treat yourself with some modest and affordable indulgences today!

When you take good care of yourself, you nourish your body and soul. Here are some low-cost fitness reward ideas to help you get started:

  • Bubbles Galore! – Take a nice hot bath and mix it up with some fun bubbles.
  • Visit a Museum – Exercise your mind! Take in some ancient history or modern art.
  • Restorative Yoga – Take twenty minutes and stretch it all out.
  • Whip up a Spread – Make something delicious and healthy.
  • All Hands on Deck – Book a massage to relax your hard-working muscles.

Exercise rewards in the form of self-care are a great way to thank yourself for all of the hard work you do. Use Monday as a way of acknowledging your accomplishments and being grateful for all that you’ve been able to achieve.

Teen Daycation at Ebster Rec Center!

At Ebster, we’ve got an amazing daycation experience just for you. Our Teen Daycation is a week filled with fun, freedom, and fantastic activities.

What to Expect:

  • Game Room: Dive into the world of gaming with Xbox and Nintendo Switch.
  • Table Games: Challenge your friends to epic battles of table tennis, air hockey, and billiards.
  • Creative Crafts: Unleash your creativity with cool craft projects.
  • Outdoor Fun: Enjoy the great outdoors with fun games in the park.

Details:

  • When: Monday-Friday
  • Time: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Who: 6th-8th graders
  • Upcoming Sessions: 9/18, 9/19, 9/20, 9/21, 9/22
  • Cost: $60/$85 per day

It’s the perfect opportunity to make new friends, explore exciting activities, and have a blast during your break. Join us at Ebster for a Teen Daycation you won’t forget!

Walking Is Real Exercise

Don’t let that hard-core runner convince you otherwise: Walking is real exercise. A 2013 study found that walkers who cover the same mileage as runners enjoy comparable improvements in a variety of health markers. One reason is because walking works the same muscles as running, only the intensity and duration are different. Sure, it’ll take you twice as long (or more) to cover the same distance as your runner friend, but walking is easier, more accessible, and may be the best exercise to start off with, especially if you’re a beginner.

Here are your talking points for why walking is real exercise:

Keeps your weight in check. According to a 2009 study, people who walk to work are less likely to rattle that obese marker. To burn enough calories to lose weight, the Mayo Clinic suggests putting on your sneakers and walking 30 minutes a day.

Helps regulate blood sugar. Walking combats Type 2 diabetes because it helps lower blood sugar levels, thus reducing insulin levels. But timing is everything. Walking for 15 minutes after every meal regulates blood sugar levels just as effectively as one 45-minute walk per day.

Promotes better digestion. What’s the antidote to lying down after a big meal (one of the worse things you can do for acid reflux and a host of other conditions)? Walk! The activity super-charges your digestion by moving the food faster through your body.

Prevents varicose veins. Walking helps to drain excess fluid from the lower legs and can help prevent varicose veins through the pumping action of the calf muscles. That increase in oxygen you’re feeling also gets rid of waste products in the tissues.

Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure as well as high cholesterol just as much as running can, according to findings reported by the American Heart Association. In fact, the more walkers walked, the better their health improved.

Gentle on the joints. Doctors say gentle walking is the best exercise if you’re pregnant, morbidly obese, or suffering from arthritis. Walking may even help ease the pain of chronic illness. For those experiencing these conditions, experts suggest starting with just two to five minutes a day, then adding an extra two minutes every third day.

Mood lifter. Walking just makes you feel good! That’s because moving your body releases endorphins that dull pain receptors in the brain, sedate you, and can even make you feel happy, if not euphoric. A 2005 study found that walking briskly for 35 minutes five times a week, or 60 minutes three times a week, could significantly impact mild to moderate depression symptoms.

Better night’s rest. Tossing and turning all night? Take this insider’s tip from travel experts, who suggest walking around a new city on the day you arrive until it’s dark can help recalibrate your supply of melatonin. Essentially, the hormone is needed to synchronize your body clock to your new time zone; the more melatonin in your body, the sleepier you’ll feel at the right time.

How to walk right? Experts say that to ensure walking is real exercise and not just a friendly stroll you must walk fast enough to cover at least 3.5 miles an hour. That will feel like hurrying to a bus or trying to get out of the rain; the point is to feel slightly winded. If you’re a beginner, see that goal as an aspiration and slowly work up to it. Join us every Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. (10 a.m. starting in October) outside the Decatur Recreation Center for a 2-3 mile walk around the city.

Announcing New Office Hours for Decatur Parks & Recreation!

We’re pleased to introduce a change that’s aimed at providing you with better access and support. Starting September 1st, our office hours will be updated to enhance your experience with us.

New Hours:
We’ll be available to assist you from Monday to Friday, 9 AM – 6 PM, and on Saturdays from 10 AM – 4 PM, in person or by calling (404) 377-0494.

Questions? Programs? We’ve Got You Covered:
Have questions about our offerings? Want to know more about our exciting programs? Need to sign up for that class you’ve been eyeing? Look no further – just drop by during our office hours, and our front desk attendants will be on hand at the Decatur, Ebster, and Oakhurst Recreation Centers, as well as Glenlake Tennis Center to help.

QR Code Signage:
As part of our commitment to enhancing your experience, we’ve introduced QR Code signage at each of our recreation centers. Scan these codes to access information about our offerings online.

We’re here to assist you, so whether you’re stopping by in person or exploring our programs online, we’re dedicated to making your experience a quality one.

The September-December Playbook is online so be sure to check out what’s happening by visiting us in person, or our website.