Getting Fit Outdoors
Fitness was not always something that interested me. I am naturally thin and athletically built. But that is not everything. When you are tracking down a wounded deer or chasing a bear, you need real stamina. Experiences like these and also programs like p90x are what got me motivated and on the right track.
But who wants to spend their time working out in a gym? Wouldn’t it be so much better if you could get fit while staying outdoors?Now I am sounding like a commercial for something. But the point is, there are all kinds of outdoor activities that work just as well as your local fitness center but allow you to stay right where you want to be most: under the open sky.
Outdoor Fitness Tip #1
Running in the woods.
Now you can run on a treadmill or a city sidewalk, but the best way to get the most out of your running time is to run through the woods. If you can find a nice wooded area with hills and obstacles everywhere, then you are all set. Nothing pushes your body like hurdling and ducking under fallen trees at high speeds. The increased awareness that this challenging environment requires and the constant changes in your path are amazing for getting a real, full body workout. Plus, its just way more fun!
Outdoor Fitness Tip #2
Splitting and hauling firewood.
What could be better than getting fit while being outdoors? How about heating your home at the same time! It takes quite a few muscle groups to put a heavy splitting maul clean through massive logs. If you heat with wood, than maybe instead of a regular workout routine at a gym, you should consider working some wood splitting into your schedule. Tone your upper body by splitting and work the rest with some hauling and stacking. I’m sure you will find creative ways to push yourself each time. How many logs can you carry? How far? How fast can you split them? And the best part is, when you are done you have something to look at!
Outdoor Fitness Tip #3
Not all of us are privileged enough to have a place for this near our homes, but it may be worth looking for someone who does. Rock climbing is an intense challenge that requires every part of your body to be strong, coordinated, limber and fast. I enjoy finding new ways to challenge myself every time I face a rock wall. You can try to find new ways to the top, or try doing it with a load on your back. Climbing a rock wall or even just a steep hill every day can have a huge positive impact on your stamina, upper body, legs and core muscles.
Outdoor Fitness Tip #4
Some of you may be thinking I am crazy right now, but I am not really talking about gardening as a workout routine, although some gardening activities can be. I am talking about getting outside and growing some healthy food! A workout routine by itself cannot bring us to our optimal health, proper nutrition is also necessary. And nothing is better for us than natural, raw foods that have been grown the way nature intended, without any pesticides or preservatives. If you are truly serious about improving your health, than growing some nutritious produce will be the perfect thing to compliment your outdoor workout routine.
Outdoor Fitness Tip #5
A no brainer for some, but maybe those of you who are simply sick of working out in a gym have not fully considered how good for you playing sports can be. I know that for many of us, it is not easy to consistently push ourselves harder during our workout routines. But often, when a few friends and a healthy dose of competition is thrown in, we have the motivation we need to push our bodies to the max. This is very true for myself. Running alone never tires me quite like running with others, especially with those more athletic than myself. Because of this, even if you are not the competitive sports type, I recommend trying to find a buddy to accompany you on your morning run or rock climb.
If sports are your thing, than there are plenty of options. You can join a local team or put together a group of your own. I know many people who have poker clubs, or euchre groups or fishing crews. Why not consider substituting those activities with a healthy game of soccer or flag football once in a while? Another personal favorite of mine for outdoor action is paintball. Adrenaline can push even the most stagnant individual to great athletic achievements.
Outdoor Fitness Tip #6
Grab a paddle and head down the river. You can bet that your upper body is going to improve physically if this becomes a regular activity of yours. Build arm strength, stamina and core muscles as you stroke your way down a beautiful waterway. This is the kind of thing that is just too much fun to count as exercise, but it really works.
Outdoor Fitness Tip #7
A pool. A lake. A river. Basically anything bigger than a hot tub can become nature’s full-body workout basin. Swimming is really one of the best possible ways to push every part of your body to the limit. There are also many ways to challenge yourself. Race against a friend or a stopwatch. Try for longer distances. Try different strokes. One large enough body of water really can become a complete workout machine for anyone willing to get wet.