You don’t need a gym membership to get in shape and stay fit. There is nothing wrong with going to the gym, of course, it’s a great place to workout with lots of options to help you build muscle and improve your cardiovascular system. But, let’s face it—the gym can be quite boring.
Remember when you were younger and played outside nearly every day? Fresh air and sunshine are a must for a healthy growing child, but it is just as important for adults to get outside, too. Engaging in an outdoor sport or activity can do wonders for your health. There is no treadmill that can beat the excitement of actually walking/running and seeing the sights of the great outdoors.
There are so many activities that you can do outside to give you the same amount of cardio workout that you can get from the gym. Tennis, running, walking, bike riding, skating, swimming, rowing, volleyball, golf, just to name a few and the list just goes on and on. If you feel the need to work while outside, remember that many chores like mowing and gardening burn calories too. All types of activities are good for you, the important thing is that you get outside and get moving.
Why not plan a vacation full of outdoor activities? Summer months are great for swimming, sailing, rowing and water skiing. If you are headed to the mountains, there are plenty of activities there too. Hiking is pleasant when the weather is cooler, you can pack a full backpack to add some weight to your hike, and you’ll build strength and burn fat just like adding weights to your treadmill routine. Mountain climbing is another fun-filled activity that offers the benefit of weight resistance exercises.
If you haven’t exercised in a while, or if you are just beginning an exercise program, it is best to start out slow to condition your body and allow your muscles time to stretch. Especially when the weather is extremely hot or cold, your muscles, including your heart muscle need time to get adjusted to the varying temperatures and the increase in activity. Remember, if you have been sedentary for a long
time, you will want to take it easy when you exercise to avoid injuring yourself. The goal is to keep moving, not have to recuperate from an injury.
There are many sports activities to keep you active in the winter months as well as the summer months. Cooler temperatures allow you to participate in ice-skating, snow skiing, and snow boarding. Of course, there are always work-related activities that need to be done in snow bound areas, too—like shoveling snow. So whether you go outside to work in the yard or take off on your bicycle for a 5-mile ride, you are sure to enjoy the time outdoors, to feel the sunshine on your face and the breeze in your hair.
~ Karen Ficarelli
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