The weather is finally starting to cooperate with a little sunshine and warmth. If you’re a regular gym-goer, it might be time to take a break from the treadmill and head outside for some fresh air and a new workout. Here are a couple of ideas and tips to get the most out of your nature-friendly fitness:
Nature’s Bootcamp: If you’re looking to tone-up while taking in the rays, look for an outdoor bootcamp class in your area (I’m a fan of Stacy’s Bootcamp in Central Park). These classes often incorporate dips on benches, push-ups in the grass and sprints around parks. It’s great to have the fresh air of a park (instead of a stinky gym) and you’ll still get the benefits of a tough workout. If you live near a park, do some research- they may also offer outdoor yoga.
Go for a Run: Ok, this one is a little obvious, but if you’re not typically an outdoor runner, it’s time you give it a shot. If you’re used to treadmill running you may find outdoor running more of a challenge, especially if you run on a treadmill with no incline. Your legs are going to feel the slightest incline change with outdoor running so even if you’re super-fit, you may feel sore after your first few outdoor runs, which means you are working hard so good job! Wear supportive sneakers (if you go to a running store they can watch you run and recommend a good fit) and know your route. Make sure you are headed in a safe direction with lots of people around, especially if it’s early in the morning or later at night (stick to daylight hours if you can) and have an ID and/or your cell phone on you. If you’ve got a smart phone it can also be your source of music and tracking. Download a running app and know your exact pace and route. I like the Nike+ Running App; you get encouragement along the way and pace updates as often as you want. If you’re looking for tunes, download Songza which will customize your playlist to your activity.
Hit the Stairs: Give your glutes a workout! Either work in running up and down stairs into your runs or just go for a stair-focused workout. Find a good set of stairs nearby (if you live near a high school, check out their bleachers) and run up the stairs and jog down. Switch up your style each time you head up the stairs. A few different ways to workout on stairs: Use tiny quick steps, use larger strides and run up two steps at a time or use high knees as you make your way up.
Go for a Ride: I’m a cycling instructor so the last thing I want to recommend is ditching your weekly spin class in favor of outdoor biking, but there is something to be said for the real thing. Decide how many miles you want to go and find a fun place to stop in the middle. So you’re aiming for a solid 60 mile ride? Look for a cute coffee shop or restaurant 30 miles away, head there with a friend, sit outside and enjoy your time, then bike home. It’s so nice and relaxing you’ll barely realize you’re working out (maybe). If you’re in NYC, take a look at Piermont, NY (15 Miles from the GW Bridge) or Nyack, NY (20 miles from the GW bridge). Make sure you map out your path and check to see if it is safe for bikers.
Even if it’s looking a little cloudy, don’t forget your sunscreen. Now get out there and enjoy the rays!
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