As the calendar turns from April to May, most of us should be in the middle of the spring season now. After a long winter in many parts of the country, we now have the opportunity to get outside. Today’s article offers up some ideas for combining exercise with a little fresh air.
No one in the Northeast or Midwest (or really anywhere for that matter) wants to hear me lament about the “tough Atlanta winter”, but we did get a few snow squalls this year. Nothing like my childhood in Vermont, but a few inches can paralyze a southern city. We had enough to allow me to do amusing stuff like this:
That fun aside, the winter season is known for shorter, darker days. If we’re not careful, winter can wreak havoc on our health. Some suffer from depression caused by Seasonal Affective Disorder. We tend to move less and eat more. Our exposure to sunlight decreases, which increases our risk for Vitamin D deficiency. But now the temps have warmed and a giant orange thing has appeared in the sky. Regardless of whether you’ve been on the go all winter or you’re just emerging from hibernation, the outdoors offer plenty of opportunities for exercise. Let’s talk through a handful of them:
Accessible walking trails are becoming popular. Head out and explore! Mountain ranges always offer up great hiking opportunities. You can always find a trail to challenge your skill level, be it a flat path or something just short of scaling Mt. Everest.
Cities love 5k’s. We might as well just rename spring “5k season”. You don’t have to be super fit to participate, as these races can be walked, run or a combination of both. Participate in a few and see if you can improve your performance each time. Also, many 5k’s are organized to benefit a charitable organization or cause. What better way to give back?
Most municipalities have parks. Some combine a walking/running path with monkey bars and other assorted implements. Download the “ANYWHERE” workout, pick the exercises you want to do, and go play! There’s nothing wrong with the occasional adult on the monkey bars! Combine that with a little running and you’ve got yourself a workout.
I love track workouts. Whether it’s a series of sprints, some stadiums or a longer duration run, the options are endless. Here’s a few ideas you can incorporate at the track:
Sprints: Set your distance (I usually choose 100m) and sprint it. You recover during the time it takes for you to walk back to the beginning. Repeat by 8-10 reps.
400m Repeats: Brutal. Sprint a lap, recover until you’re ready for the next. If you do 4 you’ve effectively sprinted a mile.
Stadium Snake: Jog around the track and when you get to the stadium, snake up and down the isles until you exit the opposite side. Repeat. Cry.
Another outdoor favorite of mine, hill sprints are a great way to increase lower body strength and speed. You can also orient them toward conditioning by creating an interval scheme that works for you. Sprint up/walk down is a good one, as is a 1:1 work time to rest time ratio.
These have become quite popular over the last several years. While you don’t have to form a team, they’re much more fun if you do. Those who know me best can regale you with tales of my disdain for distance running. However, when we gather a few friends together and go over, around and through obstacles on a 10 mile course I have a blast. As an added bonus, I get to alter my training for 8 weeks (which is a good thing) and we celebrate with beer at the end. What more could you ask for?
The outdoors offer a host of opportunities to stay fit and healthy, and none of them involve sitting at an exercise machine. At Vitalifit, we design exercise programs that encourage you to move as much as possible. In addition to regular coaching and communication we also include a comprehensive exercise video database with over 150 exercises. If you’re looking to start a strength training program and need guidance, contact us today to join the Vitalifit Coaching Program that is right for you.