Benefits of Outdoor Workouts
A fun, invigorating class is a great way to bring in new membership and keep current members coming back for more. But what might be even more appealing during warm months is a class tailor-made to the outdoors. Not only will members enjoy the blue skies and vitamin D, but they’ll also appreciate the fact that outdoor workouts are generally more strenuous. While running, people flex their ankles more, stress different muscles depending on the terrain and face wind resistance. Running outdoors is not at all like running on a treadmill. Several studies show there are more subtle advantages too: people who condition outdoors show greater enthusiasm, joy and vitality and lower levels of tension, depression and fatigue.
There are numerous ways to take classes outside. Boot camp classes are a natural. One idea is to mark workout stations with cones. You can place the necessary equipment – dumbbells, kettlebells, jump ropes, plyo boxes, etc. – at each station. Make the circuit simple by keeping the number of reps per station the same.
Yoga is another great option for outdoor classes. The trick is finding level ground in an area that’s quiet enough so students can hear the teacher and big enough for students to spread out their mats. Balance poses and inversions are especially great for outdoors. The uneven terrain will challenge their balance, and handstands and headstands are better outside because landing on the soft earth is preferable to falling on the hard gym floor.
Of course one of the best classes you can offer is a brand-new class that you don’t offer indoors. How about a medicine ball workout with partners or balance training with BOSU trainers or StrongBoards? Novelty classes outdoors are sure to lure members. But they’ll also pique the curiosity of passers-by who will see you using interesting equipment and having fun.
Don’t Forget the Sunscreen!
Before heading out in the sun, make sure students know in advance of the special needs of outdoor workouts. In addition to bringing their regular gear, advise them to bring extra water, a towel, sunscreen and sunglasses. You don’t want to lose them mid-class because they were unprepared.
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