How To Take Your Fitness Outdoors
Before there was the gym, fitness studio, or fancy exercise contraption, there was simply the great outdoors. No expensive memberships, smelly changing room, or judgemental strangers, and plenty of natural obstacles to challenge even the most fit individual.
Even though you might be used to sticking to an indoor workout, there’s no reason a typical aerobic or strength workout can’t be adapted to an outdoor environment. Try some of the tips below to maximise your workout, and enjoy “Nature’s Gym”!
Try terrain-specific workouts
As mentioned above, there’s no limit to the kinds of exercise you can do in the grand scope of the outdoors, but it can be fun and helpful to break up your routine by terrain. Spending a day in the park, for example, could be a great way to get in a decent bodyweight circuit, whereas you might spend another day hitting the trails on a run or light jog.
Acclimate yourself to the heat
Even though you might want to give it your all, it’s important to remember that unless you’re frequently working out in nature, your body is used to a more regulated climate- especially if your local gym is air-conditioned.
Heat exhaustion is a very real thing, especially in these warmer temperatures. Make sure that you’re easing into things, and give yourself plenty of breaks to rehydrate. Don’t be afraid to cut your workout short if you’re feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
Don’t forget to warm up
Warming up prior to exercise helps get blood pumping to your muscles and raises your body temperature, effectively prepping the body for cardiovascular exercise. Warming up your muscles is key in order to prevent stiffness and injury, and to make sure you’re giving your best effort.
Considering the uneven terrain and relatively unstructured environment, it’s especially critical to make sure you don’t skip a warm up. If you’re out for a run or jog, a brisk 5-10 minute walk combined with a set of dynamic exercises (jumping jacks or squats) will get you well on your way to a great workout.
Equally as important in preventing injury and stimulating the process of muscle growth is the cool down. Make sure to block out about 10 minutes to stretch out your joints and muscles, especially in the legs and back- and don’t be afraid to hold each stretch, even if they’re a little uncomfortable.
Setting goals to strive for in fitness helps prevent plateaus by always pushing you to hit milestones that further advance your abilities. Whether it’s running a mile in a set time, completing a race, or hiking to the top of every peak in the UK, it’s so helpful to sit down and make a plan, outline your markers for success, and celebrate every step of the journey.
Utilizing outside resources to augment the process can be beneficial in achieving your goals. Measuring the body’s statistics like macronutrient intake and body mass index further help in illustrating the causality between fitness, food, and optimal health- and can help you learn more about how your body processes energy, as well as how to maximize your workouts.
Make it a family affair
Working out with a friend is a good way to stay accountable, learn new things, and commiserate about shared experiences. You can also involve family as well- make it an adventure! Going hiking, swimming, and camping, or competing for a race together is a fun way to bond while getting fit. Either way, establishing a support network is one of the best things you can do to stay on track and achieve goals.
For many of us, the weather has firmly turned for the better. The elevated temperatures mean that there’s plenty of good energy and motivation that can help you blast through your fitness goals, indoors or out.