Not only will it still be light out when you leave work at 5pm, now there's even time to get home and change into your running clothes before sunset. Stuck at your desk until 6pm? Bring your sneaks into the office, and head out from there to explore new territory. Oh, also consider a new job, cause this one's seriously cramping on your exercise.
With daylight shifting an hour, some ski areas, like Vermont's Bolton Valley, are keeping the slopes open an extra hour, until 5pm. That means you can get in a full, eight-hour "workday" of turns (work from home, anybody?). Of course, if you can't sneak in a personal day, many more ski areas—Telluride, Powderhorn and Aspen, among them—will soon shift their operating hours later to 10am-5pm. Believe us, it's easier to slide out of the office at 3pm for some end-of-day runs than it is to conspicuously show up two or three hours late on a powder day.
Build a fire in the backyard when you get home, and you'll be down to perfect cooking coals before it's dark out. Grill up and eat dinner, then shift into s'mores and storytelling mode as night falls. It's all the atmosphere of full-on camping with none of the logistics or commitment.
Now that sunshine bookends your workday, it's the perfect time to give bike commuting a try. You'll have a whole hour or two of daylight to get home (enough to ride 10-20 miles, even at a genteel pace) before visibility becomes a concern. Even so, be sure to use bright, attention-grabbing blinky lights as dusk approaches. The ride will give you a fresh perspective on your commute and on the folks you share the road with. Also, the fresh air and exercise helps clear your mind and ease the mental transition from work to home (pedal away your stress).
No matter where you live, there's plenty of food right outside your door (or nearby, anyway). Don't believe it? Look no further than Wildman Steve Brill, the outspoken forager who's made a career out of eating his way through New York City's parks. In Central Park alone (where, it should be mentioned, foraging is forbidden), a sharp-eyed forager can find, among other healthy, delicious edibles: gingko and hawthorn berries, quince, cattail shoots, garlic mustard, persimmon, Lamb's-quarters, hackberries, wood sorrel and, of course, dandelions. Don't know what you're looking for? Try downloading Brill's Wild Edibles smartphone app, which contains info on "167 major edibles and 57 look-alikes" (an iPad version includes 800 recipes). Dinner's served!
A long day's work calls for a good de-stressing. Before you head home to hang on the feed bag and park on the couch, seek out a sunset yoga class. Plenty of studios and yogis offer them in public parks or beaches once the weather warms up. There's nothing quite like being outdoors—the sand or grass between your toes—and focusing on your posture, breath control and meditation to help reduce your stress and re-focus your energy. Say goodbye to the day in a healthy way.
Salmon, steelhead and shad are running now in rivers and tributaries across the country, swimming upstream to spawn. Nothing beats that quiet time before sunset, when it's just you, the fish (which happen to be biting at this hour) and the sound of the water rolling gently on by. Catch one, and feast on frying-pan fish for dinner. If you don't catch one, well, who really cares?
You're not the only one who's stir-crazy at the end of a long day. Take your pup to the park to sniff out new things and play a game of fetch. You'll both feel better for it.
It's time to clean out the Garage Mahal. Not only will you be better organized for warm-weather adventures ("Where did that bike tool go?"), it's also a chance to inspect and clean all of your gear. It's easier to do outside, in better-quality natural light. Just haul it all out to the driveway, spread it out and examine one piece of gear at a time:
1. Check canoes and kayaks for hull damage.
2. Give your bike a thorough once-over and cleaning.
3. Dust off and waterproof your hiking boots.
4. Check climbing ropes for fraying or other signs of stress.
5. Hey, we can't make the whole list for you.… Get to it!
Sleep in! OK, so it's not exactly "active," but sometimes your muscles need extra recovery. And, anyway, that extra hour of evening light before sunset means there's also an extra hour of dark in the morning before sunrise. So hit snooze and give your body a break from the early AM drill. If you're feeling well-rested in the evening, and still champing at the bit to exercise, you can squeeze a workout in then.
While it may be too early for most seeds to go outdoors in colder parts of the country, it's the perfect time to get started on indoor planting and windowsill gardens. Arugula, beets, carrots, English peas, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes—plant those seeds indoors now (use a UV lamp if your house doesn't get sufficient sunlight), and you'll have strong seedlings ready to drop into your garden when the time is right.