Outdoor Workouts

When it comes to outdoor workouts there are endless possibilities. There are as many unique ways to exercise as there are people exercising. Use your imagination and change things up a bit.

But first...a few things to be aware of when doing just about anything outside.

  1. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! I can't say it enough and you've certainly heard it a million times before. Be sure to wear an SPF 15 or higher and put it everywhere year round. There's nothing worse than sunburn stripes on your shoulders because you only rubbed sunscreen on your arms and then wore a tank top. Don't forget the tops of your ears and the part in your hair too!
  2. Exercising in the heat, while not impossible, can be challenging. Your body naturally tries to maintain a regular temperature and as the heat rises it becomes harder for your body to function properly. Which makes exercise harder. Temperature is not the only factor however. Your body cools from sweat evaporating off your skin. Humidity makes this process harder whereas a breeze will help it. So the same outdoor temperature can feel very different in different conditions. Wear loose-fitting clothes, avoid the hottest parts of the day. Go out in the early morning or evening hours and stay well hydrated.
  3. Exercising in the cold can have its own challenges. Moisture will carry heat away from your body so wear clothes that wick sweat away. Wearing several layers will trap air to help keep you warm. Keep your hands and head covered as well. The National Safety Council suggests that it is dangerous to have exposed skin in conditions when the wind chill factor is below -20 degrees F. So check the weather before you go!

If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, stop what you are doing immediately and seek medical assistance.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Heat Exhaustion: ashen skin, goose bumps, headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability, lack of coordination

Heat Stroke: disorientation, confusion, dizziness, headache, loss of balance, profound fatique, hyperventilation, vomiting, diarrhea, delirium

Signs of Hypothermia

Signs of hypothermia can come on gradually so its easy not to recognize it right away. Shivering is your body's natural defense against cold so it's important to be very aware of what's happening with your body. 

Hypothermia:  shivering, lack of coordination, slurred speech, confusion, drowsiness, apathy, weak pulse, slow shallow breathing

Have A Cardio Activity You Love? Tell us about it...

Do you have a fun cardio activity or workout that gets results? Share it with us.


Walking

Walking is the easiest type of exercise that can be done outside or anywhere, for that matter. Just get outside and walk! For variety, take different routes around the neighborhood, walk with friends, walk the dog, whatever! I think any movement is better than nothing but push the pace for the most effective workout. 

If you want something with a little more structure here are a couple workouts you can do.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

30-minute Fat Burner

A leisurely walk is better than sitting on the couch but for faster results a walking interval workout is a good bet.

     5 minute warm-up at a moderate pace.

     The middle 20 minutes should be broken into 20/40 intervals. 20 seconds hard, 40 seconds recovery. You can work up to a more even split of intervals over time.

     Hard intervals: 20 seconds of walking as fast as you can without breaking into a run! Pump your arms and keep a steady, hard pace.

     Recovery intervals: 40 seconds of walking at a moderate pace. Try to match the pace of your warmup and not let your recovery pace get too slow!

     5 minute cool-down at a moderate pace gradually getting slower.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Endurance Builder

     5 minute warm-up at an easy pace.

     Gradually and steadily increase the pace over the next 10 minutes until you reach a moderately intense pace that you can hold for the next 10 minutes.

     5 minute cool-down at an easy pace.

     The total time for the Endurance Builder workout can be increased gradually as you build up your endurance.


Running

For a lot of people, running is the next logical step from walking. The walking workouts described above can also be done as running workouts.

If you're just starting out, focus on increasing the total amount of time you can run rather than increasing speed. That will come later!

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Running Training Program

This workout is designed to gradually increase the total amount of time you can run. You will run the same general plan each time you run but the intervals will change over time. This is a great workout if you're just starting out.

  Week 1 - do this workout at least 2 times            

     5 minute warm-up at a brisk walking pace          

     1 minute running/2 minutes walking x 4

     2 minutes running/2 minutes walking x 2

     5 minute cool-down at a brisk walking pace

     Total time: 30 minutes

  Week 2 - do this workout 2-3 times

     5 minute warm-up at a brisk walking pace

     1 minute running/2 minutes walking x 2

     2 minutes running/2 minutes walking x 4

     5 minute cool-down at a brisk walking pace

     Total time: 32 minutes

  Week 3 - do this workout 2-3 times

     5 minute warm-up at an easy jogging pace

     2 minutes running/2 minutes walking x 4

     2 minutes running/1 minute walking x 2

     5 minute cool-down at a brisk walking pace

     Total time: 32 minutes

  Week 4 - do this workout 3 times

     5 minute warm-up at an easy jogging pace

     2 minutes running/1 minute walking x 5

     5 minutes running

     5 minute cool-down at an easy jogging pace

     Total time: 30 minutes

Continue the program from this point each week exchanging 1 walking interval for running until you are running a total of 20 minutes at a time. As with any exercise program, use it as a guide. Make adjustments or repeat weeks so the program suits your individual needs, fitness level and goals.   


Cycling

Cycling is another great outdoor option. If you don't already have a good bike, bicycling.com has a great store-finder function. Find a reputable bike shop that can help you purchase a properly fitting bike for your needs.

This can be a substantial investment, including accessories, so be sure this is something you'll want to do often!

When starting out, pick your route carefully. You don't want your first couple of rides to be on a route with a lot of rough terraine, killer hills or major traffic.

Plan a 5-8 mile ride to start and gradually work up in mileage as you become more comfortable on the bike and your fitness improves.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Sharing the Road 

Your first time on a bike can be intimidating when your on the road with 4000 lb motorized vehicles! You, as a cyclist, are certainly more vulnerable than a driver so it's important to take responsibility for your safety.

  • Follow the same rules of the road as cars. Stop signs, lane markings, flow of traffic.
  • When cycling with a partner or group, ride single file.
  • Whenever possible, make eye contact with drivers. It reminds you both to be cautious.
  • This might seem obvious to some, but wear a helmet - many cycling injuries and fatalities are due to the victim not wearing a helmet.
  • Don't wear headphones. You can hear what's going on around you better.
  • Use extra caution at intersections. Slow down and check for on-coming traffic.
  • In general, be aware of your surroundings and use hand signals to let others know of your intentions.

Many states have passed a rule that 3 feet is the motorist's minimum legal distance for safely passing cyclists. There is currently a push for a nationwide standard. You can find more information at completestreets.org and 3feetplease.com