How To: Make Exercising Outdoors Fun
With March almost being over, that means National Nutrition Month is ending as well. National Nutrition Month is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. Nutrition and exercise is something a lot of people choose to not care about, but should start taking seriously. According to the most recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data, adult obesity rates now exceed 35% in seven states, 30% in 29 states and 25% in 48 states. That is NOT okay. We need to fix that.
With the warmer weather coming, it means more time we want to spend outside. So why not make our time spent outside more worthwhile and exercise! It may be hard to get into a new routine or to do something you aren’t fully comfortable with but the world is your playground, and the range of fun and surprising workouts is nearly endless. They’re effective, too: Your outdoor excursions can offer strength-building, fat-burning, balance-refining boons — among plenty of other health benefits.
Here are some tips for working outdoors that will certainly help you feel the burn but also enjoy what you are doing!
Get off the pavement
Take advantage of the varied terrain nature has to offer. While most cardio machines will only let you go forward and up, outside you can also tackle downhills, test your lateral movement skills and more. Try boulder bounding up dry riverbeds, then "slaloming" downhill through the trees. Combine that with body-weight exercises using logs, boulders and tree limbs.
Look for props
Even if you don't have access to hiking trails or a body of water, it's usually easy to find a park or playground. Use benches for dips and push-ups. Think monkey bars are only for kids? They're also good for stretching and practicing pull-ups. Put your legs to work doing step-ups and calf raises on curbs.
If you do the same workout over and over, not only will your mind lose interest, your body will get bored and you'll plateau. Lucky for you, no two workouts are the same outdoors. Either the wind is different or the temperature has changed or you just pick a different route, so your body has to adapt. You have no excuse for doing the same workout in the same place two days in a row.
Using nature as your gym can save you money, but there's one piece of gear you shouldn't skimp on: shoes! Make sure they fit well and are made for outdoor terrain. You want grippy, lugged soles that bite into dirt and a wider outsole for more stability on rocks and other uneven surfaces; you may want added ankle support too. Sunscreen and water are must-haves year round. Also, check the weather report and plan your workouts accordingly. In order to beat the heat, pollution, and damaging UV rays, exercise first thing in the morning.
You're more likely to get in a sweat session when it doesn't seem like a chore. Try to recapture that sense of fun you had when you were a kid playing on the jungle gym or frolicking outside. It doesn't have to be drudgery—make it up as you go.
If you want to know more about specific exercises you can do outdoors, click here! There are so many options and with the right mindset the fun is limitless! We need to start caring more about our mental and physical health and being able to workout outdoors is definitly a start!
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