The weather is getting warmer and this is the time of year that most of us itch to get outside and enjoy the sun and warmth. Who really wants to sit inside and be confined to a gym when you have a whole world out there that you can play in and get funky and creative in your exercise. I know I don’t. Exercising outdoors gives you more options, but it is also replenishing to the soul and your spirit. Not only is the weather warming up, but there are so many outdoor fitness opportunities at your finger tips. From biking to hiking to strength training to fitness challenges, there is virtually an option for whatever fits your fancy. You just need to get creative and or have someone, like myself, guide you in the right direction to create the perfect plan for you! I mean, heck, you may find something new that you never knew you loved or maybe never knew that you were simply amazing at!
Here are some exciting and innovative ways to get outdoors, get your butt active, and have an awesome time!
1. Hiking: There are hiking trails that are suitable for all ages and fitness levels. From a beginner to the more advanced hiker, you can easily get in a fantastic workout that will challenge your entire lower body, core, and upper body (depending on how challenging of a trail you choose). To find local trails near you, search the web for details on trail locations and difficulty levels. Are you more adventurous and want to explore challenging trails? Check out this website to inspire you: http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/photos/9-extremely-challenging-but-worthwhile-hikes/outdoor-adventure
2. Running in sand: Let’s face it, running outside can just be plain challenging, but if you are ready to take it up a notch, try running in sand. Plan a trip to the beach or hit up a local park equipped with a sand pit and get ready for a killer workout that will challenge every muscle in your body. The sand creates an unstable surface for landing, therefore, your foot, ankle, and leg muscles need to work together more efficiently to maintain your balance and form. If you are able to have access to a sand area large enough to run, get out there and test out your endurance. If you are using a sand pit at a park, you can perform short quick blasts of cardio or some full body strengthening exercises. Whichever you choose, make sure you stay aware of your exercise form to avoid any injuries.
3. Challenge your inner warrior: Extreme obstacle and running competitions are all the rage right now. They are a challenging and creative mix of running, rope climbing, crawling, and jumping your way to victory and provide the participants with satisfaction of harnessing great amounts of inner strength and determination…harnessing your inner warrior. Amongst the crowd of participants, there lies a great deal of camaraderie and friendships. Are you ready to be challenged this summer to new levels of personal fitness awesomeness? Check out obstacle competitions such as Toughmudders, Diva Dashes, Dirty Girl, and Sparten Races.
4. Park fitness challenge: Sometimes the best workout lies right in your back yard…literally. There is a reason we had fun as kids when we went to the park to play. Because parks are just fun! From monkey bars to jungle gyms to swings, you can get a kick ass workout in AND harness your inner child. Park equipment challenges your body and muscles to work in ways that it does not get a chance to on a regular basis and it allows you to stretch and challenge your agility, proprioception, and awareness of how your body functions in your environment. Some parks have a specific outdoor challenge course prepared ahead of time, complete with stations and instructions. If your park does not, try performing a circuit of the following activities. That means little to no rest in between.
- Swing for 3-5 minutes (jump off swing is optional!)
- Monkey bars across and back
- Perform 10-20 jumping jacks
- Climb up and over jungle gym
- Skip to open area to perform 10 push-ups
- Sprint to the slide
- Climb ladder to slide down the slide
- One leg push merry-go-round for 10-15 complete spins (ride for rest before starting next circuit is optional!)
- If there are any other pieces of equipment not mentioned here, add them in for more fitness fun
5. Hill runs and lunges: Hills can be your best friend in outdoor fitness challenges! From hill runs to inclined lunges, your legs and glutes will be feeling the burn. Try a series of light decline jogs with more intense pumping sprints ascending the hills. You can also mix in a few rounds of ascending hill lunges. Keep your torso tall and your knees in line with toes and lunge up those hills. For recovery, walk back down the hills and get ready to perform your next set of lunges or runs.
Take action now! Pick at least one of these outdoor challenges and plan how you can incorporate it into your workout plan. Make a concrete plan and put it on your workout calendar. Aim for at least 30 minutes of a solid workout. Try to fit in at least one outdoor workout session a week.
Comment below and tell me what you picked and how it impacted you and how it felt for your body. Do you already workout outside regularly? If so, I want to hear all about it in the comments!
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