The winter cold makes it easy to stay indoors and take naps amid a mountain of blankets. But as the spring sun thaws out the chill, it’s time to kickstart your fitness goals. The gym can grow tiresome, but heading outdoors for some exercise can reinvigorate your workouts. Whether you’re training for a neighborhood sports league or you simply want to create a bathing suit-ready body, these five outdoor activities will whip you back into shape!
- Walking and/or Running Walking is a great exercise to kickstart your springtime fitness because you can build on it as your cardiovascular strength improves. Start with a brisk 20 to 30 minute walk three times per week. You can even multitask by taking your dog with you or making a necessary phone call along the way. As your endurance builds, you can add time to your walks or increase your number of walks per week. Once your body adjusts to frequent, lengthy walks, add in one-minute intervals of jogging for every few minutes of walking. More advanced runners can also participate in this routine by substituting walking for jogging and jogging for running.
- Stair Climbing Stair climbing is a very intense exercise that helps your body burn fat and build muscle, primarily in your legs. You may have used a stair climbing machine at the gym, but, when exercising outdoors, it’s best to find either a building with a very tall staircase or a building with several flights of stairs. Start by walking up and down several times. Once that becomes comfortable, try walking up one flight, jogging up the next and so on in intervals. For the most impact, try skipping steps during your workout. For every 30 minutes of stair climbing, you can burn up to 400 calories.
- Hiking Though similar to walking, hiking involves obstacles and inclines as you go. This is beneficial because it works different muscle groups than plain walking on a level surface such as a sidewalk. For the best results, select a path that offers a variety of terrain to get a whole-body workout. Bring a friend or your spouse for an afternoon of activity and the beautiful, scenic views of the outdoors.
- Errands Most people don’t think of errands as exercise, but all that walking around and lugging bags of purchases to the car can burn many calories if you plan well. To pack the biggest punch, plan to visit a cluster of stores in the same area and follow this rule: park once, walks lots. Park in a central location and walk to each store within the strip center or mall rather than driving a few hundred feet and parking again. Bonus points if you haul your goodies back to the car in between each store. This is a great way to get stuff done while sneaking in some exercise simultaneously.
- Biking Riding a bicycle, even leisurely, can burn up to 355 calories per hour. Make the activity more exciting by planning a route through a new part of town that you’ve been wanting to check out, a local park or another interesting area. If you live close to work or a friend’s house, ride your bike instead of driving. Any chance you get to pedal instead of hit the gas is a chance to improve your fitness.
How do you get active outside the walls of the gym?
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