Here’s some good news for those living in Utah: You are likely to be more physically active than those who live in other states. That’s according to the 2019 data by the Department of Health.
Around 55 percent of Utah adults can meet the recommended physical activity per week, which is 150 minutes. The national average was only 50.6 percent.
Meanwhile, 2020 research revealed that the Beehive State is also the second happiest state. It scored well in the number of hours worked, divorce and separation rates, and volunteer rates. It ranked fourth in sports participation and sixth in income growth and sleep rate.
Even better, you need not head to the outdoors just to keep your body and mind healthy at all times. Use your yard in the following ways:
1. Convert It into a Tennis Court
Granted, while homes in Utah are big, their average yard size is small. According to Home Advisor, the average size of a yard in the United States is 10,871 square feet. That’s about 25 percent of an acre. That of Utah is only 7,714 square feet. It’s just slightly bigger than that of Texas and Arizona.
The good news is this may be enough to build a tennis court. If you want the size to be as close as to regulation for doubles, it must be 60 feet in length and 120 feet in width. That converts to around 7,200 square feet.
However, if you don’t have plans to be the next Rafael Nadal or Serena Williams, or you just want to play leisurely, the smallest tennis court size is about 4,800 square feet our nearly half of the regulation.
It’s not ideal to maximize the entire space since your contractors still need enough room for the installation, fencing, or drainage. The wiggle room will also be ideal once you need some tennis court resurfacing every four to eight years.
You may ask, though, why a tennis court? Unlike other sports like basketball, the risks of injuries are lower with tennis.
2. Plant Some Food
Do you know that you need 200 square feet for every person in the household to grow food all year round? The average household size in Utah is only 3, which means you can already have a bountiful harvest from a 600-square-feet yard.
That helps a great deal in curbing food insecurity, which is a growing problem in the country. A 2014 study also showed that gardening could provide kids with high to moderate physical activity from raking, weeding, and even seeding.
But that’s not all. Seniors can benefit from the activity too. A 2009 research by Kansas State University shared that gardening doesn’t only keep older adults physically active but also improves their hand strength or grip.
The strength of a person’s grip can already be a good indicator of their risk of developing chronic diseases such as stroke, heart attack, and different types of arthritis. Exercising their grip may improve their muscle tone and reduces their odds of experiencing pain or dying prematurely.
3. Put Up a Shed
If you have extra space after having a tennis court or growing a food garden, your next best project can be a shed.
How can sheds keep you physically and mentally active? One, if you’re living in a large household, it pulls you away from plenty of stimulation, such as children’s noises, pets, and TV. You can quiet your mind and perhaps have a better time meditating and journaling.
Sheds can also work as storage space to keep your primary home clutter-free. While some people can thrive in messy environments, clutter, overall, is a sight for sore eyes. Many findings are already saying that it can induce or worsen stress levels.
It may even increase the production of a stress hormone called cortisol, which can be a more severe problem. The more your body produces it, the more you are at risk of developing chronic inflammation. This is a common risk factor for a variety of illnesses, from diabetes to hypertension.
You can build the shed yourself (you can already find dozens of free plans online) and count it as a source of physical activity for the next few days or weeks. Or, if you have enough cash and don’t want to hassle yourself with the DIY building, buy it.
It may be safe to say that people in Utah are healthier and happier, and you can help keep it that way. Transform your yard until it looks inviting enough for you to go out, enjoy the weather, and get moving.