Monday, May 23, 2011

Get Outside!

Last week I posted about running. I love running because you can just open your door and go. The other thing I love about running is that I get to be outside. Anytime I can exercise outside I will do so over being in a gym. There is something that is just more motivating about being outside. So today I wanted to address everyone else who likes being outside. Today I am writing about all the stuff you can do outside (besides running) with little to know equipment.

First things first, if you have to equipment, swimming and biking are both great forms of cardio and can be done outside. We covered running, but maybe your not a distance person, or you are looking to add mass and not lose weight. For those people, sprint work can be a great alternative to long distance runs. The basic sprint:rest ratio is 1:1. With a stop watch, this is easy to do, just sprint for a given amount of time, then walk for that same amount of time. If you don't have a watch handy, you can sprint for a given distance, then walk half that distance back and repeat. The 1:1 ration is optimal to build VO2, and accomplishes a lot of calorie burning in a small amount of time (typically this workout last from 10-20 minutes including warm up and cool down), but ratios like 1:2 and 3:2 spring:rest can be used to build up to 1:1.

Maybe you are the person who hates running in all forms. Why not try Hiking? Hiking is a great workout as the climbs and descents add difficulty to a basic walk, and the constant change in the trail relieves some of the boredom on long bouts of cardio. 

Of course, all your basic body weight resistance training exercises can simply be done outside (squats, push ups, pull ups, etc.). Climbing is a fantastic outdoor activity that provides a full body workout, and depending on how daring you are (or crazy some might say) can use very little or quite a bit of equipment. Rowing is another option, and most state parks with lakes have a place you can rent something you can row (sometimes this can be a great workout as the boats you rent may not be the most high tech, forcing you to work harder to row!).

Finally, my personal favorite is what I call free running or trekking. It involves just moving through a forest or patch of trees in the fastest way possible. No trails or marked paths, just run (or walk) and take obstacles in stride. Be careful with this one though, as it can be easy to twist an ankle, so you have to watch where you are going. That's it for today, go outside!


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