What is Outdoor Fitness?
If you want to add more fun to your usual fitness routines, then you may want to give outdoor fitness a try. Basically, it refers to a structured workout program, which involves taking advantage of natural terrains. The activities here may be as simple as jogging around the neighborhood or taking a brisk walk. Some even consider light yard and gardening work as a form of outdoor fitness.
Benefits of Outdoor Fitness
Outdoor fitness lets you enjoy plenty of incredible benefits, among which are:
- Provides a harder workout – The reason is that being active outdoors lets you encounter an environment that changes constantly. You have to adapt to even the slightest changes around, including slight bumps, obstacles, or inclines. Your body will, therefore, work harder than when you are working out on your stair machine or treadmill indoors.
- Free – Of course, exercising outdoors is completely free. You do not need to settle membership fees or buy expensive workout equipment.
- Access to clean air – You will be able to breathe natural and clean air outdoors. As a matter of fact, outdoor air is cleaner and less polluted than indoor air – that is even the air in metropolitan areas and large cities.
- Supplies your body with enough Vitamin D – Exercising outdoors also supplies you with sufficient Vitamin D from the sun. This is a good thing if you are already a bit overweight since people with excess weight usually lack Vitamin D.
- Gives your mind a good workout – Outdoor fitness is good for your brain and your overall mental health. It raises your mind’s awareness regarding changing terrains, which is also a great mental workout.
Types of Outdoor Fitness Routines
Now that you know the benefits of outdoor fitness, it is time to learn about the different exercises and fitness routines you can do outdoors. Here are some of the simplest ones:
Walking is one of the most common outdoor fitness routines you can do. It is an effective calorie-burning exercise while being easy on your joints and not requiring expensive and fancy equipment.
It would be best to incorporate brisk walking for at least thirty minutes in your daily routine. Walking for at least 30 minutes even just around five days every week can help in warding off chronic disease and help you stay in shape.
You may also want to go for a run or jog outdoors. Aside from being good for your lungs and heart, running or jogging can also improve your stamina. It also tends to burn more calories compared to walking. It puts more strain on your joints, though, so start slowly especially if you are still a beginner. Increase your distance or time gradually, preferably less than 10% every week to guarantee your safety.
Bicycling outdoors is also an incredible cardiovascular exercise. Doing it outdoors even lets you get to know more about your community as you cycle to different parks, neighborhoods, trails, and bike paths. Cycling is the best outdoor fitness routine for you, especially if you plan to target your quadriceps or the muscles found in front of your thighs.
There are definitely numerous fitness activities you can do outdoors. You can even try playing sports, hiking, dog walking, rock climbing, and swimming. What’s great about these routines is that they are also fun to do, which is a great way to improve your mood and relieve stress, not to mention improve your physical health.
How to Start Outdoor Fitness?
If you haven’t started on your outdoor fitness journey yet, then now is the best time to do it. Fortunately, anyone can start outdoor fitness even without any advanced skills. There is no need to invest in expensive workout equipment, too. You can easily start your outdoor fitness routines with just these simple tips:
Decide on your exercises
Determine what types of exercises you should do first so you can create a plan revolving around them. Note that for your outdoor fitness to become effective, you need to set a game plan prior to stepping out the door. If possible, write down your preferred exercises, so you can constantly remind yourself of them once you are already ready.
For example, if you prefer adding bodyweight exercises into your run or jog, then write down all your preferred exercises. Set a plan regarding the number of reps and sets you wish to do and how you can integrate them into your routines. Just make sure that what you include in your routines are those you can comfortably do if you are still a beginner.
Note that even simple outdoor exercises, like jogging and walking, can be substantially improved by pre-planning the workout. If you do not have a goal and plan in place, then you can’t maximize your workout potential.
Decide on the location
The next thing you should do is to decide on the location where you will be doing your workout. For instance, if you intend to do yoga, then it would be best to choose a calming place. In that case, your best choice is that away from the busy life outdoors as well as from the playgrounds. Choose a grassy and flat area close to a calming and quiet trail.
If bodyweight circuit training is what you intend to do, then the perfect location for it is that which has a flat surface where you can do pushups and squats. It is also advisable to pick some locations that, when combined, can meet your specific requirements.
Avoid underestimating the significance of shade, space, and park and playground amenities access, too. It also helps to find paths or parks with water fountains so you can remain hydrated even if you do not have to bring water with you all the time.
If you are serious about achieving great results from your outdoor fitness journey, then it helps to invest in the right workout clothes. Note that what you wear when you work out outdoors will greatly vary based on the weather. To ensure your comfort when it is particularly hot, choose lightweight and light-colored clothes made of wicking fabrics.
If the weather is cold, then you may want to dress in several layers. You can just remove or add layers as you go through your workout. Ensure that your clothes are made of wicking and quick-dry fabrics, too.
Be prepared for some unexpected scenarios
This means you should be prepared and conscientious of possible dangers while you are working out outdoors. You may experience things like twisting your ankle when running on a trail or getting lost once you reach an unfamiliar town. Plan wisely so you can easily navigate your risks and prevent injuries and unsafe situations.
Lastly, make it a point to enjoy nature when exercising outdoors. The goal here is to increase your level of enjoyment when doing your outdoor fitness routines so you have a better chance of sticking to your workout plan for a long time.
What are the Most Popular Outdoor Fitness Disciplines?
Are you not tired of working out on your own indoors? Then maybe you should give various outdoor fitness classes and routines a try. What’s great about these outdoor fitness routines is that they are fun to do, making them excellent alternatives to hours spent inside your home or gym.
The following are just a few of the most popular outdoor fitness disciplines and routines you can do:
If you wish to exercise with a group, then aerobics may be the best outdoor fitness discipline for you. It is an effective group workout, which is ideal even for beginners. Aerobic workouts are good for you as they can improve your cardiovascular system. They are also helpful in boosting your flexibility.
If you gain a bit of experience, you can slowly go to more complex aerobic workouts recognized for their ability to build your strength. Aerobics also helps in getting your heart pumping, giving you the chance to integrate some fun and exciting dance elements into the routine.
You can also do circuit training outdoors. This type of workout requires you to do some sprints and take advantage of mini-assault courses for training. It is a great cardio workout, which also focuses on your agility, something that you may have a hard time attaining if you just confine yourself in an indoor space or gym.
Another nice thing about circuit training is that it lets you perform more intense exercises together with others, including dragging and moving weight. That said, it is safe to say that circuit training is indeed an effective all-body workout. You can also attend a circuit training class, which provides you with a chance to integrate teamwork exercises into your routine, like group relays and lifting.
Another popular outdoor fitness discipline you can do is running. This is a good choice for you if you love running but already feel bored and tired of doing it on an indoor track and treadmill. By bringing this famous discipline outdoors, you will get the chance to enjoy nature and the lovely warm weather. Just make sure to pick a running path, park, or trail, which is safe for you. Wear durable and comfortable running shoes, too.
A lot of state parks and areas provide hiking trails that will let you take a break from your usual gym and indoor workouts. What’s so good about hiking is that it can give you a great cardiovascular and lower body workout. If you plan to go hiking, then make sure to pick trails that suit your fitness level.
Make sure that you adhere to your path, too. Avoid wandering into the woods where you can find things like poison ivy and wildlife. It helps to invest in good hiking boots and shoes, too.
Inline skating is another fun and famous discipline that you can do outdoors. You just have to look for a smooth and nice path where you can have fun skating. It can raise your heart rate while targeting your lower body when working out. The most important thing to remember when doing inline skating is to wear your protective gear, like your wrist guard, helmet, elbow pad, and knee pad to avoid injuries when you fall accidentally.
You can choose from many different fitness disciplines that you can do outdoors. One final advice is to perform different training approaches, instead of just one, so you can improve your overall fitness.