You’ve been sweating it out at the gym all winter and the elliptical machine is getting old. Or maybe you haven’t been doing much of anything and the thought of putting on a bathing suit has inspired you to get into your workout clothes. Either way, now is the ideal time to go outside, where the sunshine and budding trees offer additional inspiration to get moving. Here are some spring outdoor exercises for getting in shape while enjoying the warm weather.
Especially if you didn’t exercise much during the winter months, you’ll want to start out slow to avoid injury. A good way to do this is to walk. Start out with no more than 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If that feels like too much at first, break it up into two 15-minute walks a day. If you’re feeling good and want to turn your walk into a jog, increase your distance by no more than 10 percent a week, while gradually increasing your pace. While not everyone has a hiking trail nearby, find a neighborhood with a sidewalk or a park with walking paths.
There are many advantages to riding around the block a few times. Cycling works your quadriceps and gives your whole body a workout. It is an aerobic activity, strengthening your heart muscles and building up your stamina for physical activity. It is a low-impact activity, meaning that it doesn’t strain your muscles as much as other forms of activity. It is a great way to get around in the warmer weather, so bike to local venues when possible with friends.
3. Outdoor Weight Training.
Turn the outdoors into a gym to make the most of the sunshine. Do modified push-ups, step-ups or squats using an empty park bench. Use the local jungle gym to do some pull-ups, or do a minute of lunges in your backyard. You can grab onto a tree and do pull-ups, or for fun, grab a friend to do partner exercises such as reach-and-touch plank or sit-up pass.
4. Outdoor Yoga.
There’s nothing more relaxing than doing yoga outside in the sunshine. Get in touch with nature and listen to the birds chirping and the wind blowing as you get your daily workout in. There are dozens of free or inexpensive apps that can take you through a quick workout. FitStar Yoga, Yoga Studio and Daily Yoga are a few to try. If you find you love it, you can take your practice to the water as summer approaches and give stand-up paddleboard yoga a try. For those who live on or near Lake Erie, here’s a good place to start.
5. Outdoor Sports.
On a sunny day, make exercise fun with a game of basketball or soccer to get your blood pumping. Try a local field or playground, or put a hoop in your front yard to keep it close to home. Grab a few friends and get a team going for volleyball, water polo or flag football for some friendly competition that will give you a great workout at the same time.
Bringing Nature and Fitness Together.
With longer days ahead, there is more time to spend outdoors, so why not make it productive? Get creative and experiment with new exercises that can help you feel better than ever before. Maintaining a healthy weight is about more than just looking good—the health benefits are endless. But if diet and exercise aren’t producing the kind of results you need to stay healthy, you may need a physician’s help.