Spring Out

The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, the air smells sweet, and the sweaters are coming off. Who wants to be indoors? Whether you’re in a smelly, close gym or on your own treadmill, it’s time to get out.

Cardio on the treadmill has you running in place. But progress is made outdoors! Our muscles can work more naturally, and the scenery can keep us interested and motivated.

But remember that the great outdoors poses a few bigger risks. You’ll likely need some sunscreen and extra hydration (drinking before you head out and after you return is likely to be enough with most 30- to 60-minute workouts). Don’t forget sunglasses, and wear appropriate clothing in layers to remove as you warm up.

And because you’ll be moving different muscles—or the same muscles in different ways—start off slowly.

  • Walking and running are easy, and all they require is a pair of good shoes. But consider some of these exercises.
  • Hiking: So technically it’s walking, but it’s a lot more fun. Take the whole family for a hike in the woods as everything is beginning to bloom.
  • Calisthenics: Do some old-fashioned floor exercises, like jumping jacks, leg lifts, pushups, situps, walking lunges, and squats.
  • Outdoor circuits: Some local parks have set up stations along popular pedestrian routes. You can find parks equipped with industrial fitness machines as well as more primitive rope ladders and monkey, parallel, and pull-up bars.
  • Yoga: There’s no better place to do yoga than outside—whether it’s at the park or in your yard. Take your yoga mat and become one with nature.
  • Cycling: If your city is like most, it probably boasts a few bike routes. Unlike most other exercises you do, biking requires a little routine maintenance. So before taking your first ride of the season, take your ride for a tune up. Have the gears. brakes, and tires checked every year. Invest in a tire repair kit and a portable pump. And be sure you ride with the proper safety equipment.

Spring fever is officially upon us. Get out there and work up a sweat!

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