Be Healthy! Be Outdoors!
Fresh air, warm sunshine, and a cool breeze make the perfect combination to cause us to feel great and want to be outside...
the options for being active in the outdoors are endless !
When I ask my clients whether they prefer to exercise indoors or outdoors, most of them say outdoors. Most all of us enjoy the outdoors regardless if it is for work, play, or even exercise. Fresh air, warm sunshine, and a cool breeze make the perfect combination to cause us to feel great and want to be outside.
Depending on where you live or travel, the options for being active in the outdoors are endless. Just about everything you can do inside for exercise can be done outside, except for some strength training and or cardiovascular movements that are only performed in a health club environment. Other than that, all sporting activities plus some light weight lifting can all be done outdoors.
Here are some great ways to have fun outdoors while improving health and fitness.
Make it fun!
- Basketball shoot around, (solo or group)
- Baseball/Softball (batting cage or team game)
- Football Toss (invite your friends)
- Tennis Play (join a league or just enjoy with friends)
- Golf Play (9 or 18 holes, or a driving range)
- Soccer Play (join an age appropriate league)
- Bicycling (great family fun)
- Jog, walk, or run (try the beach or a lakefront.)
If you like to mix things up, try doing some exercises before, during, or after your activity of choice. Try doing a circuit/internal routing while playing basketball or tennis. After you’ve played for 20-30 more minutes, you could either do push-ups, crunches, and squats, or you could stretch, and cool down. This is a great way to build endurance, stamina, and muscle tone. Take caution; however, never exercise outdoors in extreme heat and always consult your physician before beginning this or any other exercise program.
If you are the adventurous type and want a break from conventional exercise, try adventure sporting. This is one of the fastest growing sectors of sport and leisure activities in the world, and people of all ages are participating. Many from the baby boomer age group are trying adventure sports for the first time because they now have the time to devote to the training and to travel.
Adventure sports range from mountain biking up and down rough terrain, to white water rafting, to rock climbing, to surfing, to hill walking, to underwater adventures, or to caving. The common denominator is that all events are performed in the “natural outdoor environment.”
Unlike playing tennis or hitting some golf balls, adventure sports are highly advanced activities and can be extremely challenging and even dangerous. I strongly urge anyone who is interested in adventure sports to first do some research on these activities and always seek proper instruction and guidance before participating. To prepare yourself for your outdoor activity and to prevent injury, first consider the many types of indoor exercises that you can do under the direction of an experienced fitness trainer.
Prescription for Prevention
Avoiding injury is always my first concern. To prepare for an adventure sport, I recommend exercises that will increase ankle and knee stabilization, including calf raises, squats, lunges, and one-leg balancing. These exercises are ideal for strengthening the lower extremities and building endurance.
Concentrating on your “core,” which includes the abdomen, obliques and the lower back by performing exercises that will strengthen, increase flexibility, and improve rotation is equally important. A few of the exercises that that can improve this section of your body include abdomen crunches using a stability ball, medicine ball twists, and cat backs. Developing a healthy and strong core will allow you to negotiate uneven surfaces and terrain with more ease and comfort. But most importantly, it will help you to avoid serious injury while your body is undergoing strenuous activity.
Cardiovascular training is another important step and one that is needed for building endurance to altitude changes. Biking is good for cardio training, so are steppers, and elliptical machines.
Whether you are playing golf, tennis, basketball, or you’re trekking down a steep mountain side in the great outdoors, being physically prepared and conditioned will not only help prevent injury, but it will amplify the fun and enjoyment.
As my mother always said, “go outside and play!”
Michael Sena, is available to chat online at 12:00 p.m (EST). on June 7.
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"Be Healthy! Be Outdoors!"
Michael Sena has been motivating, educating, and inspiring individuals in the field of health and fitness for the past 25 years. He is a nationally recognized fitness expert and maintains an academic certification as a Fitness Specialist. Recently, M...