Spring is here and the weather is finally getting warmer. Now is the perfect time to think about ways to switch up your gym routine and bring your workouts outside! Besides fitting in more physical activity, there are also many other benefits to working out outside such as fresh air, sunshine, and enjoying a wide range of activities that are perfect for the outdoors which you may not be able to do during your normal indoor workouts. Not sure how to get the same intensity as your indoor workouts? Try one of these ideas to get started:
- Start simple—If you’re not currently doing much exercise, walking for fitness is a great way to get started! Begin or end your day with a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Take your dog out for a walk or jog. If you get tired of just walking around your neighborhood, consider a change of scenery–go to a new location. Not only will you and your dog each benefit from the exercise, you’ll also enjoy some fresh air and companionship! Local trails and parks are both great places to take in a nice view and get the endorphins flowing.
- Grab a buddy or form a team—Partnering up for exercise helps to keep us accountable and also adds a fun, social element to physical activity we might not want to do alone. At work, grab a co-worker or two and form a walking group outside at lunchtime. Another way to stay accountable is to find group exercise class offered in your area. Or add in a little friendly competition by joining a local recreation sport league such as basketball, tennis, or volleyball. Exercising outside isn’t just great for you, it benefits your whole family. Bring your kids outside for a day of family fun! Organize games like tag or relay races to get everyone moving.
- Set a goal—In the spring and summer months especially, there are plenty of races and scheduled fitness events. Look at your community events calendar to see what local events you could participate in. Is there a 5K you want to work up to running? A walk that benefits a charity you support? Or perhaps a local gym is holding a fitness competition to see who is the fittest in the area? Whatever it may be, set a goal for yourself for added accountability.
- Kick it up—If you’ve already been doing a lot of walking for exercise, and want the next step (pun intended) to improving your fitness level outdoors, performing some high intensity intervals will help kick your training up a notch. You can use bodyweight movements or dial it up even more by bringing some easily transportable equipment to your favorite workout spot. This can include pieces like kettlebells, medicine balls, dumbbells, jump ropes, and resistance bands. For example, alternating between movements such as kettlebell swings, walking lunges, and sit-ups for 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest for 10 rounds is a great way to increase your cardio capacity while also improving core strength.
Just a reminder– No matter what activity you try outside:
- Reduce your risk of dehydration, bring plenty of water to drink
- Apply sunscreen before heading outside
- Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine
Depending on where you go, whether you’re in the park, at the beach, in a field, a parking lot, or maybe just in your own backyard—workouts that are typically done inside can always be modified to bring to the great outdoors. No one said exercise has to stay inside, so get out there and enjoy the benefits of some fresh air and sunshine while becoming a stronger, healthier you!