Five Ways to Combine Fitness and Fresh Air

Hitting the gym can be a practical and convenient choice for staying active– especially during the winter months. Yet when the weather’s perfect, nothing can replace the benefits of fresh air and exercise in the great outdoors. Now that the temperatures are warming up, you’ve got tons of opportunities to get outside to get in shape. Here are five ways you can ditch the gym for a natural setting:

running

1. Running

The best cardio activity for toning your whole body, running can be a lot more freeing when you don’t have to be on a treadmill. Invest in a good pair of running shoes and take a jog through your local park to enjoy the scenery and get your heart pumping. Whenever possible, choose a running trail over pavement, since hard surfaces place greater stress on your joints.

2. Biking

Biking outside will make you feel like a kid again, and it can easily substitute short drives to the grocery store or other close destinations. Some bikers prefer this activity to running because it feels more engaging and can often be so much fun you forget you’re even exercising. Start off small with laps around the block and build up to sharply inclined trails to put your strength to the test.

3. Swimming

Spring and summer are the perfect seasons to take advantage of outdoor pools. Unlike other outdoor exercises, swimming keeps you cool no matter how hard you train, so you can avoid getting sweaty while still pushing yourself to the limit. To make it even more fun, sign up for a class in water aerobics, synchronized swimming, diving or competitive racing for that extra motivational boost.

4. Hiking

Your local hiking trail is a cost-free opportunity to get in shape, explore the outdoors and spend some time relishing the beauty of the natural world. Hiking might seem like a milder exercise routine, yet the distance and ruggedness of the terrain you choose can provide some intense exercise. Also, if you add climbing and running to the outing, a hike can be a challenging endeavor that will build your strength and endurance quicker than you think.

5. Outdoor Zumba

Outdoor workout classes are growing in popularity, and Zumba is one fitness favorite that burns calories like nothing else. There’s nothing more invigorating than catching some sunshine while shakin’ it to Latin American dance music with a group of other fitness fanatics. Sure, you might feel a little ridiculous at first doing the salsa in the park, but looking silly is part of the fun!

Even though one of these activities might stand out as being the best choice for your lifestyle, it’s important to maintain variety in your workout routine. Keeping it interesting will prevent burnout and variety will ensure each part of your body is getting the attention it needs. You can bike to the farmer’s market on Monday, swim in the backyard pool on Wednesday and go for a hike with friends on Saturday to stay fit while having fun.

In addition to participating in these outdoor activities, remember to incorporate cardio into your everyday life by taking the stairs, walking or biking short distances and cleaning the house more often.

Don’t let the spring and summer go by without taking advantage of the great weather, so hit the running trail, the park or the pool and get in shape while having a blast.

Joseph is a fitness buff with a love for writing. In his spare time, he enjoys blogging on behalf of Sears and other brands he uses.