Mom rejoiced when warmer weather hit the homestead.

“Go outside and play. The fresh air will do you good,” she would tell me and my sisters.

We were lucky to have a large, fenced backyard. Our yard also featured a four-foot pool that kept us cool as the heat and humidity arrived every summer and sometimes into early fall. The road behind our house had houses and an largely uninterrupted paved road that made biking, rollerskating and walking fun to do. All done in the fresh air.

Fresh air. It’s something that we shouldn’t take for granted. We should embrace it with every opportunity. We should relish it now in these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic, when taking care of our health is paramount. Fresh air is good for the lungs. Sunshine — in moderation — adds a dose of Vitamin D (just watch for sunburn!).

I’ve become that mom who tells my kiddos to go outside when the weather affords it to get some fresh air. Our yard, while not as large as the one at my folks’ house, affords enough space for play, dance, grilling, camping (we have set up a tent the last few summers), dining al fresco or just being outside enjoying the sunshine or clear, starry nights. My son now enjoys helping me with yard work, especially cutting the grass.

Taking walks, jogs, hikes, bike rides or other means of recreation (rollerblading, skateboarding, for instance), all while practicing social distancing, are other good ways to soak up some fresh air and get some exercises into your day. Looking at the next few days, temperatures are climbing. Summer will be here soon. Breathe it in, smile and enjoy what you can in these challenging times.