Warmer weather means many people are looking forward to escaping the gym and moving their exercise routine outside.
Getting fresh air and sunshine while you burn calories can be a welcome change after a winter spent working out indoors.
This transition might not be a quick switch for everyone, though. If you spent the winter logging miles on your treadmill, or hitting the gym regularly for challenging workouts, making Mother Nature your backdrop might require some adjustments.
If you spent the colder months hibernating from your exercise routine, however, you will want to give yourself a little more time to acclimate.
Outdoor workouts can be more challenging
Outdoor exercise is often seen as more challenging because your body has to adapt to changing conditions, forcing you to use your muscles a little differently, many fitness trainers say.
While you can work up a great sweat with your treadmill set at an incline, it’s not the same as running up a hill with rocks or sand underfoot, or even jogging outside on a windy day.
Changing natural conditions force your body to work harder, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Moving outside has perks
According to ACE, studies show that people who burn calories outside reported feeling more revitalized and described greater satisfaction with their exercise routine than those who exercise inside.
With a little planning, you will be ready to move your workouts outside and enjoy that fresh air. Here are a few things you can do to make the change easier.
Choose the right shoes
The shoes you wear on the inside track or stair machine might not be best for the gravel trails, hard-packed dirt or paved pathways you’ll be hitting outside.
Or maybe you’ve already worn the tread down. Do some research on the best shoe for your purposes, especially if you experience hip, knee or shin pain after working out. Consulting a doctor is never a bad idea.
Gyms and fitness facilities have climate controlled environments. No chance of getting caught in the rain or experiencing a huge temperature drop as a cold front moves in.
Dress in light layers to accommodate any changing weather patterns and avoid either becoming overheated or getting chilled to the bone.
Also, make sure clothing is appropriate for your activity. Loose pant legs might be fine for jogging, but they can get caught in bike chains.
Working out in the sunshine feels good after months of fluorescent lighting, but remember to protect your skin.
Make sure to warm-up
Just like you wouldn’t start a run at a full sprint, you should ease into outdoor exercise. A 5- to 10-minute warm-up period is advised for any exercise activity.
If you have not been exercising much over the winter, try ramping up your outdoor workouts with brisk 20-minute walks the first week.
Once you get acclimated to exercising outside, you can add more strenuous activities like running, hiking or biking. And don’t forget to stretch before and after.
Since you’re not in the gym with a drinking fountain just steps away, make sure to plan ahead and pack your own water.
For an extra benefit, add an XS™ Sports Twist Tube to your water. Available in two flavors, this supplement not only delivers a quick boost of energy to your muscles, it replaces crucial electrolytes you lose during a workout.
Enjoy the variety
The outdoors is like a deluxe fitness facility, with opportunities to walk, run, bike, swim or hit inclines. And the additional hours of daylight mean there’s more time to fit it into your schedule.
Mix up your workouts by hiking a trail, jogging the beach or planning a bike trip. Take advantage of the warm weather while it lasts.
For those who live in the northern climates, it won’t be long before the cold winds of fall and the snow of winter send you back to the gym and the trusty treadmill.