There are a ton of great benefits to exercising outdoors
, from getting sun and fresh air, to working muscles you don't typically use! Plus, the number of outdoor activities that you can try are nearly endless: hiking, running, walking, tennis, volleyball, rock climbing, horseback riding, and the list goes on. Where do you start?! We have some advice on how to make the most of your workout, whatever activity you choose to try!
- Location location location! Plan out where you're going to exercise in advance. If you have the space you can always exercise in your own yard, but for a change of scenery, check out local parks or hiking trails. Make sure to let someone know where you will be and for approximately how long, or exercise with a buddy! Exercising with someone else is not only fun as you'll have someone to talk with (or commiserate with!), but it can also hold you more accountable. If you exercise with a friend or teammate, you can motivate each other to stick to your schedule and push further in your workouts!
- Make sure you're properly hydrated and fueled. Keeping a refillable bottle of good old H2O with you is the easiest way to stay hydrated, especially during the warmer months. It's important that you're hydrated before, during, and after your workouts. If you're exercising for long periods of time or in higher temperatures, make sure you're also replacing any lost electrolytes by drinking sports drinks or coconut water. You also want to make sure that you have enough energy to get the most out of your workout by regularly eating healthy, balanced meals that contain protein, fiber, and complex carbs. It's also a good idea to take a healthy snack like almonds or an energy bar with you on your workout, so you can refuel after you're finished!
- Build up slowly if you're used to exercising in a climate-controlled environment. It's important to pay attention to the temperature and weather conditions on days you plan on taking your fitness outside. Whether it's cold and dry or hot and humid, you'll want to make sure to give yourself time to acclimatize to your surroundings. Even the addition of a slight wind can affect you while exercising, so don't go full-out right off the bat. If you're new to outdoor activity, take a few days to slowly increase the length and intensity of your workouts so you don't burn out or worse, find yourself suffering from the effects of wind chill or heat exhaustion.
- Dress for the weather, your activity, and your surroundings. Make sure your practice wear is not too loose or revealing, and always wear shoes that are appropriate for your activity. Dress in light layers, especially if you're exercising in the early morning or late evening, so that you can easily remove articles of clothing as you warm up (or add them as it cools down). Make sure to apply sunscreen if you are working out during the day, even if it's overcast. Choosing a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 that also contains zinc, titanium, or avobenzone will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. Remember to reapply often, even if you're using a sweat-resistant sunscreen. A hat is always a good idea and will protect your scalp from being sunburned as well as help shield your eyes against sun, wind, rain, or snow.
Our number one piece of advice for exercising outdoors is to just go out there and try it! Get together with a friend or two and experiment with different sports and activities, or even join a group that holds classes at a local park. It may at first seem intimidating to exercise outdoors in public, but remember that we're our own worst critics! No one will judge you for getting out there and moving, and if they do, well, we say ignore the haters and go on with your active self! Outdoor exercise is fun, challenging, and never boring, so make the most of summer and try something new under the sun (just don't forget the sunscreen!).
How do you prepare for an exercising outside?