Are you getting bored with your gym workout routine? Warm weather and mild temperatures make spring a great time to change things up a bit and start getting more active outside of the gym.
Some simple ways to incorporate outdoor exercise might include:
• Walk, walk, and walk - Without a doubt, walking is the easiest and possibly one of the best ways to improve your fitness. It’s easy to make walking the base of your outdoor workout routine. If possible, walk to and from work as well as to and from lunch. Or, choose a parking space at the far end of the parking lot and walk the rest of the way and always walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator or escalator whenever possible. Learn to walk quickly with your head up, shoulders back, and core tight. Breath deeply and try to increase your distance and speed each day. Simply adding 30-60 minutes of extra walking each day can boost your cardiovascular and overall health.
• Sprinting - Sprinting is the new “in” form of exercising and a popular secret of the stars. Sprinting is simply a short, fast run for 60 seconds or less. It is an amazing fat burning, metabolism boosting, and muscle building form of exercise that activates both slow and fast twitch muscle fibers that give you fast results. Incorporating a few sprints into your walking program can supercharge your results.
• Ride a bike - Now is the ideal time to pull out your bike, pop on a helmet and get rolling. May is National Bike Month. Bike to School Day is May 9th, Bike to Work Day is May 18th, and Bike to Work Week is May 14-18. Biking is one of the easiest ways to exercise. It builds strength and stamina, while increasing lower body muscle tone and overall cardiovascular fitness. You’ll not only help yourself get fit and burn excess calories, but you’ll also be saving money and gas, and helping the planet.
• Outdoor exercise boot camps - If you’re ready to get whipped into shape fast and enjoy the motivating team-oriented approach, sign up for an outdoor bootcamp class. Exercise bootcamp typically incorporates a variety of strength training with calisthenics and aerobic exercises. You can easily burn an average of 600 calories in an hour and build and tone beautiful muscles you never even knew you had.
We all know the many benefits of exercise. It burns calories, increases metabolic rate, decreases stress, boosts energy and helps prevent a wide range of health issues. But even more powerful are the hormonal benefits of exercise. High-intensity exercise reduces the hormone insulin and increases glucagon - the fat mobilization hormone. A balanced diet along with exercise can help maximize the benefits of your workout efforts.
Master these outdoor exercises one at a time or start by combing some or all of them into your own personal outdoor exercise hybrid program and you can start getting fit faster, even without the gym.
Joyce Daoust is a Certified Nutritionist and national best selling co-author of:
THE FORMULA, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program.