KIRSTEN LUPINSKI: Spring into the outdoors

HEALTH & FITNESS: Warmer weather means it is time to enjoy outdoor activities

Kirsten Lupinski

Kirsten Lupinski

In my family, spring always means outside activities and fresh fruits and vegetables. When the weather starts to get nice and the daylight hours lengthen, it gives you the needed incentive to be outside and simply play.

If your kids or family are anything like mine, they are begging to be outside; playing soccer, playing baseball, riding bikes, going to the park or just running around. After being inside during the cold and wintry weather (to the extent it is cold and wintry in Southwest Georgia), spring just brings with it more sunshine and, in turn, time to play.

In the past I have written about different parks and playgrounds in the area, but I want to just remind you of a few great ones.

Chehaw has a huge outside playground (it is located outside the animal area, so you only have to pay a minimal fee to get into the park).

Turtle Park downtown is free, open to everyone and has playground equipment for kids of all ages.

There are many other parks and playgrounds around the city, you just have to look. But like I have said in the past, you don’t have to drive to a park in order to be outside and play. The idea is to get out of the house, away from the TV or computer or video games, and just play!

Spring also brings with it many fresh fruits and vegetables that just seem to taste better this time of the year. You can find may fruit and veggie stands pop up all over the area this time of the year. But one that I have written about before and that deserves another mention is Mark’s Melon Patch that is located right outside of Albany and has a ton of fresh fruits and vegetables. It is definitely worth a little drive to experience the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables.

When I first moved to Georgia, someone gave us a basket of peaches. I asked where they got them and they told me Mark’s Melon Patch. From that point on, I always go there for their delicious produce. They are open every day of the week and have a list on their website of what they currently have available under the produce calendar (http://www.marksmelonpatch.com/index.php).

You can see from the calendar that three main fruits are coming into season right now — peaches, cantaloupe and watermelon.

I strongly encourage you to take the short ride out to Sasser to visit this place or stop by one of the local stands you pass. I can assure you that you will not be disappointed in the taste of these yummy, nutritious and healthy treats.

Next month I am going to give you a few recipes that use these yummy fruits and also some vegetables that are coming into season. Happy Spring!

Kirsten Lupinski is an assistant professor at Albany State University in the Department of Health and Human Performance. She has a B.S. in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina, an M.S. in Health Education from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate in Education from the University of Cincinnati. She has worked in the health education field in various capacities (corporate health, community health, college health and wellness and university education) for more than 17 years. She and her husband have three young children (6-year-old twin boys and a 4-year-old little girl).