Spring is officially here and the weather is here to prove it! What better way to celebrate than enjoying the great outdoors? Now that the weather is warming up for the spring, take advantage of the change in season. Read on to find workouts and activities to do outside to get fit in nature while enjoying the nature around you, along with tips on what to do before and after your spring outdoor workouts to keep you feeling healthy all season (and year) long!
Tips for Outdoor Workouts
Have a Warmup Session
Warming up for exercising outdoors is just the same as if you were about to do a gym workout. Warmup sessions help prepare your body for movement, which helps reduce your risk of injury or strain during your workout. Try some stretches and low-intensity exercises to get ready to work out in nature safely and effectively.
The right clothes can make or break your outdoor workouts! With so many different outdoor activities, be sure to check which gear you might need to be safe during your excursion. Wear something that is breathable and comfortable for what you’re about to do, and double-check to see any additional items like harnesses, life vests, or helmets are needed.
Wear Sun Protection
Even if Earth Day takes place in the spring and not during the hotter months of summer, the sun can still definitely take its toll if you aren’t prepared. Always put on sunscreen when doing a workout in nature and consider wearing other sun-protective items like hats or light jackets to keep the sun damage at bay.
Hydrating is one of the most important things of any workout, especially if you are exercising outdoors! Outdoor workouts typically mean exposure to the sun and less access to fresh water, so be sure to bring a water bottle to ensure you stay healthy and avoid serious dehydration.
Recover with an Infrared Sauna
Hitting the sauna after working out can make your outdoor fitness efforts even more worthwhile. Not only will your muscles heal quicker, but you’ll also feel more rejuvenated and extend the benefits of exercising well past your workout. Using a sauna enhances the muscle recovery process by increasing blood circulation and helps relieve muscle tension.
9 Ways to Workout in Nature
Cycling has plenty of benefits for both the mind and body. To start, it’s a great lower body workout that works your quads, hamstrings, and calves. It’ll also help you get your cardio in, and therefore improve your cardiovascular health.
Plus it’s non-weight-bearing, which makes it a good option for people dealing with joint pain or injury. Pedaling while maintaining balance and steering also improves your coordination. A bike ride is great for your mental health too! Cycling can relieve stress and boost mood, plus it’s a great opportunity to bond with your friends and family.
Hiking can be a peaceful walk in the park or a heart-pounding workout. Hiking tones your lower body, and upper body if you use poles. It’s great cardio to keep your heart healthy and boosts bone density as a weight-bearing exercise. Feeling stuck? Hiking can improve creative thinking and problem-solving. As you make your way down the trail, you’ll hear nature sounds like birds and rushing water. These sounds are proven to have a calming effect. Hit the trails today, and see the health benefits of hiking for yourself!
Jogging is often defined as running at a pace less than 6 miles per hour and, like running, it improves your cardiorespiratory health and boosts your mood. Aside from the physical health benefits of jogging, there are also many psychological benefits as well. Some of these include increased mental flexibility, confidence, stress relief, and the emotional boost of the runner’s high. Jogging is a cardiovascular exercise. Such activity sends more nourishing blood to the brain, which can help you think more clearly. It also releases your natural mood-elevating compounds.
Lovers of kayaking often say the biggest draw is the peace and serenity of being on the water. Research shows that kayaking has benefits to our physical and mental health. Kayaking works your upper body, increasing muscle strength in the back, arms, shoulders, and chest. It also works your core strength and leg strength for kayakers. It is also low-impact, creating a smaller risk of injury or strain, and improves your heart rate and cardiovascular health. Paddling has mental benefits, too. Being out on the water has a calming effect on the brain, and can help lower stress and anxiety levels.
Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, is an excellent workout while getting you some quality time exercising outdoors. Few activities provide such an extensive range, from upper body training to leg work and core strength building. At the same time, it’s also a fairly low-intensity and fun thing to do. SUP outdoor workouts can be as laid back or intensive as you want them to be. Paddle around calm waters and activate your core, or step it up by doing SUP yoga to help engage your muscles for a full-body workout.
Exercise is all about engaging your muscle – from your heart to your biceps and quads – and asking those muscles to perform work. And when it comes to activating and training a diverse range of muscles, few exercises rival climbing as climbing is a more complex movement than most exercises. No climbing surface or route is quite like another, so the work you ask your muscles to perform during a climb changes each time you exercise. Make sure you have the right safety gear in place and see nature in a way you haven’t seen from the ground!
This is a broader option for exercising outdoors, which makes it an option for nearly anyone! From tennis to soccer, find a way to get active on the court or the field to really enjoy being outside. Playing a sport with someone is a great way to be social and bond while reaping the benefits of exercise and being outdoors. You certainly don’t have to be a pro to play a sport! Play with someone who is on the same level as you to have a friendly match. Who knows, maybe your one-time outdoor sports workout may grow into a new hobby!
Swimming is another great low-impact exercise, which means it allows people recovering from injury to stay fit without straining their bodies. The water also provides resistance, which increases muscle strength and tone as you swim. Lastly, swimming stretches your muscles and increases flexibility. Swimming helps you relax and destress. Floating in the water dulls the sensory information that can overwhelm, creating feelings of calm. The rhythmic movements and breathing can also provide meditative benefits.
Seeking some peace and stability, while enjoying the fresh air? Outdoor yoga could be for you! The combination mind-body workout of yoga pairs perfectly with the all-over health benefits of time spent outdoors. Feel your worries melt away as you breathe in the fresh air and focus on your wellness. Contact with nature has been found to lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, help mitigate disease, and reduce stress levels. The combination of peaceful yoga with nature makes for a great mental and physical exercise this spring.
This spring, make a point to get outside and be active! There are plenty of outdoor workouts for every skill and activity level to “spring” into fitness for anyone. Use these tips and ideas to workout in nature and fully appreciate the change in season while keeping your body healthy and happy.