The “Take Your Workout Outdoors” Challenge
By RICHARD M. MAILLARD
My workout routine is king: I'm at the gym before the newspaper hits the driveway in the morning. But while the gym serves a purpose, moving your workout outside offers unique opportunities to change up your routine. So I'm issuing a challenge: Swap the gym for nature and see the difference it can make.
Here are three tips to get the most from your outdoor workout:
1. Skip the Treadmill and Try a Trail Run
Navigating the terrain will require more from your senses as well as your muscles. There's no time to daydream while you're adjusting to uneven surfaces and dodging rocks and tree roots. You may be surprised where you feel the burn the next day.
See what's around you and use it. Stairs, boulders, hills and logs can make your workout even more challenging. You can use big rocks and railroad ties for box jumps and balance beams. Just make sure to be safe and test their stability before you start climbing on and jumping over things.
2. Use Nature as Your Marker
How many box jumps did you do on that park bench last week? This time try five more. If you walked up that steep hill this week, try jogging halfway up next week. The week after that, see if you can run the whole way up. There's something far more satisfying in conquering a real hill than watching a block of digitized lines on a display screen on a treadmill.
3. Take Advantage of the Vitamin D
The sun, a fresh breeze and a change of scenery can do wonders for a bad mood. There have been days when I've left home feeling blue, but after a run outside, I returned with hope and new strategies for what was weighing me down. Don't forget to wear sunscreen.
The four walls of a gym can feel confining and competitive. Outdoors, it's just you and nature. There are no mirrors to gauge your appearance -- the only reflection is the sun on the water. Try challenging yourself outside the gym and see what new goals you can achieve.
Readers -- Do you prefer indoor or outdoor workouts? What do you like best about training outdoors? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Involved in fitness since his childhood in England, Richard M. Maillard is passionate about people becoming healthy and meeting their fitness goals. He is a certified USA cycling coach, an Extreme Fitness Trainer and enjoys pushing his own physical limits as well as working at the fitness level of those he trains and coaches. Find him on the trails running and doing burpees in the dirt or with a cycling pack in the hills surrounding Los Angeles. Join him if you want a bit of fun and inspiration.