Get Outdoors

Make your workout more fun by heading outside.

As summer turns to fall, relish those last few weeks of nice weather. Getting outside can be very beneficial for your health. One of the best things about outdoor activities is that most of them do not feel like a workout. Also, many can be done with a buddy or a group, which makes it easier to be motivated.

Getting Vitamin D from being outside has added benefits for cholesterol health, happiness, and mood as well as regulating circadian rhythms. Just make sure to slather on the sunscreen.

Hiking

Hiking with friends is a great outdoor activity. Pick a trail with a decent incline and some small hills to work your legs and glutes. Take long strides to keep your heart rate up. You can also turn your hike into a higher intensity interval workout if you run or sprint for 1 minute, then walk, then continue to alternate for a solid 30 minutes. During downhill portions of your hike, concentrate on your abdominal muscles. Think about everything coming into the center and pulling up. If the grade is pretty steep, this action will protect your back and if you’re doing proper deep breathing, it could have a similar effect as stomach vacuuming.

Biking

Biking is another great workout you can do outside. It’s a great way to get some cardio and maybe even save a few minutes on your way to work or school, not to mention the endorphins and decreased road rage as a bonus. Be sure to wear a helmet and know the rules of the road.

Running

There are many “fun runs” that take place while the weather is decent. These range from color runs to the more extreme mud runs. If running a 5K, 10K, or more seems like a bit of a chore, but you are looking for a way to get some good cardio and have a good time with some friends, these types of runs might just be the answer. Also, running outside is drastically different from running on an indoor track or treadmill. The differences in the road work the various tiny muscles in your feet, which helps maintain better balance.

Kayaking

One of my favorite nice weather workouts is kayaking. It is great for the oblique abdominal muscles and the arms. Sit up tall in the kayak and use your abdominals to support your low back. As you carve your paddle into the water, exhale to one side as you compress the oblique on that side. Holding the paddle also naturally works the arms and shoulders. Many places have free kayaking in the summer—check out where you can rent or borrow one before there’s a chill in the air.

Taking Classes at the Park

Speaking of free workouts, many parks have free recreation classes throughout the summer and into the fall. It’s a great way to work out on a budget and try a new class that might become your new favorite.

Illustration courtesy of Andriy Yankovskyy