Go outdoors and get in shape!

The temperatures are slowly getting warmer, and you’ve decided to make good on that promise to get into shape. Your timing couldn’t be better.

Chances are you’ll be more motivated to put on a pair of exercise shoes on a bright, sunny day than you will on a cold morning when even crawling out of bed is a challenge. Plus, warm weather also opens up the possibility of exercising outside in the fresh air and sunshine. Need some ideas for outdoor workouts? Check these out.

Head to the parkoutdoor exercise

Do you live near a park? Your local park is a good alternative to the gym – and it’s free. If you live close by, slip on your walking or running shoes and walk or run there. When you arrive, turn the play equipment into your workout studio. Use a park bench to do a series of push-ups. Then grab the monkey bars and do pull-ups or bar hangs. Add a set of jumping jacks between each exercise. Take a run around the park. Then jump on a swing and tone your legs by pumping them towards the sky as you swing. Who says you need a gym to get a heart-pumping workout?

Another way to exercise outside? Find a local park that has a fitness trail. A fitness trail is a walking path with a series of exercise stations at designated points. At one station, the sign might instruct you to do a set of jumping jacks or to hang from a set of parallel bars. At the next station, you’ll get another exercise challenge. Walk or run from station to station, pausing to do each exercise. You’ll build endurance, strength, flexibility and balance all at the same time.

Watch the sun come up

Keep a pair of exercise shoes and workout clothes by the bed and put them on as soon as you wake up. Then head outside just before dawn and take a brisk walk as the sun comes up. There’s something exhilarating about seeing the sun peek above the horizon and warm you with its first glowing rays as you walk. It’s certainly different than walking on a treadmill in the gym. When you get back from your early morning outdoor workout, stretch and do some yoga poses. Then enjoy a cup of hot coffee before hitting the shower.

Get off the beaten path

Get in touch with nature and burn calories by walking a nature trail or hiking. Do an online search to find a trail in your area and breathe in the sweet smell of nature as you get a good outdoor workout.

Plant a vegetable garden

Yes, gardening counts as exercise. You burn an average of 252 calories per hour when you work in a garden, thanks to the constant bending, digging and lifting. Plus, the movements you do work the all-important core muscles that stabilize your entire body. Why a vegetable garden? You’ll have lots of healthy veggies to put on the dinner table. Being outside in nature and gardening is also a great stress reliever. Who couldn’t use a little of that?

Sign up for an outdoor boot camp

Outdoor boot camp sessions are springing up all over the country. Boot camps are basically fitness classes you do outdoors, usually in a park. The exercises typically require no equipment. What do they involve? Think push-ups, jumping jacks, planks and running in place. What makes them enjoyable is you’re exercising outdoors with other people, getting fit and making friends at the same time. There’s something about sweating it out in a group session that draws everyone closer together. Check with your local YMCA or local park service to see if there’s an outdoor boot camp class in your area.

Would you like your exercise to be a little less “zoom” and a little more “zen?” Sign up for a yoga class held outdoors instead.

Turn work into exercise

As the days become warmer, keep your car in the garage and do as many errands as you can on foot. Instead of driving to the post office, walk or ride your bike (don’t forget to wear a bike helmet!). Skip the automatic car wash. Park your car in the driveway and wash it yourself. Hold a yard sale. You’ll burn calories and tone your muscles moving all of that stuff outside. Don’t forget to take Fido on a long walk. Turn all of those outdoor chores into exercise.


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