June 27, 2014
Abundant sunshine, higher temperatures and longer days make spring the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Local parks may offer a slew of outdoor recreational activities to members of the community each spring, and there are bound to be a few seasonal offerings that focus on outdoor fitness.
Taking your workout outdoors is a great way to enjoy pleasant weather and stay fit at the same time. In addition to exercise routines done at the gym, explore the following energizing outdoor activities to burn calories and soak up some springtime sun at the same time.
A nearby park or wildlife preserve that features walking trails is a good place to begin an outdoor workout. Some parks build exercise stations into their hiking paths, enabling visitors to vary their workouts along the way. Signs may also point out particular exercises that can be done during the hike, such as lunges or squats.
Hiking is a good cardiovascular workout that is particularly beneficial when done on varied terrain. Mixing uphill and downhill portions of the trail with level ones will work the various muscles in the legs and also provide greater resistance to get the heart pumping.
Hiking yoga is a new fitness trend that melds the classic poses of yoga with the cardiovascular workout of hiking. Hikers can break up their workouts at various points by getting into yoga poses. By doing so, it’s possible to burn twice the amount of calories one would in a standard yoga session. There’s also the added benefit of being outdoors, which can boost your mood.
Rev up the heart and cardiovascular system with sports you can play in the great outdoors. Eschew indoor racquetball for a game on an outdoor court.
It’s easy to break a sweat and enjoy a good workout when a game of hoops is taken outdoors. Many parks include basketball courts where a few players can square off against one another.
Pickup football or baseball is another way to enjoy physical activity outdoors, especially for those who may not be gym hounds. Both sports provide a cardiovascular workout while building muscle. When players are engrossed in the game, they may not realize they’re having fun and getting fit at the same time.
Major cities across the United States, including New York, Denver, Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis, now boast bike-sharing programs. Calories burned while biking vary depending on the length and intensity of a ride, but cycling is often great exercise.
Cycling is not only for city streets. Explore the various “rails to trails” programs that criss-cross the country. Defunct railway lines have been turned into walking and biking paths. Some hug coastal areas and feature impressive views. Especially adventurous riders can hop on a mountain bike and take to the hills.
Jungle gym and parks workout
Use items in the park to tailor a complete workout. Park benches can serve as a workout bench where athletes can do push-ups, triceps dips and step-up exercises. Stretch on a jungle gym or use monkey bars to fit in some pull-ups.
Some parks have their own fitness zones with exercise equipment built into the design. Hop onto a rowing machine or a hydraulic-based elliptical free of cost.
The beach is not just for relaxing and catching some sun. Beaches can be a great place to get a good workout as well. Swimming in the ocean against the tug of the tide and waves is quite a task. The buoyancy of the water will prevent strain on your joints, but the resistance of the water will work your muscles harder than if you were swimming in a pool.
Running or walking in sand is tougher than doing the same activities on a packed surface. The sand offers more resistance, which will tire out your legs and provide a greater cardiovascular benefit. Carting a few children, a cooler, beach chairs, and refreshments also may qualify as a workout!
The spring is a time when many people renew their love affair with the great outdoors and take advantage of all the outdoor events and activities at their disposal. Exercising outdoors is one way to soak up some sun while enjoying some fresh air and getting healthier.