Breathe new life into your fitness routine!
Yes, you can work out at home and in the gym. But we all know that gets a little ho hum... fast. That’s why we’re taking our workouts outside these days.
The obvious one. Running is either a brilliant, life-affirming activity (give me my endorphins!), or medieval torture, depending on who you ask. But the truth is that human beings are actually among the best endurance runners of the animal kingdom.
The biggest mistake new runners make is running in beat up, old shoes.
Our two-legged gait is remarkably efficient—look at the local people of the Kalahari desert. To hunt antelope, these bushmen simply jog after them—for days—until the antelope collapses from exhaustion. So you can probably survive a fifteen minute jog to earn yourself a beer. Just make sure your shoes are up to par! The biggest mistake new runners make is running in beat up, old shoes—a recipe for knee pain and shin splints. Your first two weeks of running are the hardest you’ll ever face—there’s no reason to make it any worse.
Like any good sport, hiking has infinite depth. Whether you’re hungover, glaring at the sun, working up an appetite for burrito lunch, or going on an ultralite trail run up a mountain pass, there’s a whole world for you to explore.
If you’re going on an unfamiliar trail, a good rule of thumb is to know when sunset is so you can turn around and get back before dark.
But do your research on where you’re going and bring more water than you think you need. If you’re going on an unfamiliar trail, a good rule of thumb is to know when sunset is so you can turn around and get back before dark. Plenty of people get into trouble… even on easy trails.
Kayaking is a low-impact aerobic activity. So, while you may not burn as many calories per hour kayaking as you would running or cycling, you’ll be strengthening your body without hurting your joints and tendons. The upper body workout is incredible and will help build your core greatly.
The peace and calm of being out on the water are worth it.
That said, be sure your stroke and form is strong as hunching over can hurt your back. While this activity is highly dependent on where you are—and how expensive the kayaks are—the peace and calm of being out on the water are worth it. Provided you don’t get smushed by waves.
Cycling of any kind is a terrific workout—whether it’s toodling around on your old beater or spending $10K on a racing bike, dressing up in one of those vaguely prophylactic bodysuits and dodging cars on the freeway.
A mellow cycling ride can help you stretch out, while an intense one can leave you collapsed on the couch.
Cycling is low-impact and builds your legs, hamstrings and core. A mellow cycling ride can help you stretch out, while an intense one can leave you collapsed on the couch. But, provided your form and bike are decent—and you don’t crash into anything—you won’t injure yourself easily. Similarly, mountain biking can be either peaceful and relaxing or a blistering high-speed adventure. A local fire road is like a walk in the woods whereas a gnarly single track is like throwing yourself down a rocky chute. Just be careful! There’s a reason the most common mountain biking injury is nothing less than a broken collarbone.
If you ask me (and you did, because you’re still reading), the best part of surfing isn’t surfing. Now, I may just be saying that because I have the balance of a three-legged narcoleptic goat, but sitting on your board, past the breakers, waiting for a good wave is a great way to relax.
There’s a reason most expert surfers look pretty darn good doing it.
Plus, paddling out is great for your arms and back. There’s a reason most expert surfers look pretty darn good doing it.
In summary, if you’re lucky enough to live in a place where you can safely and easily exercise outside, then you should take advantage of it. Adding fresh air, beauty and sunlight to your weekly workouts will benefit your body and mind. Even when the world is back to normal, being in the natural world for even a few minutes may benefit you more than even the toughest Orange Theory class.