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Jul 14, 2011

The gym is not the only place beckoning you for a visit and let’s face it, there is plenty to do and enjoy out of doors that can give you an equal, if not more significant work out. The beauty of outdoor workouts is being outdoors and what that does for your senses. You probably never thought that your senses need a work out too did you? If you have been disciplined with your gym sessions your senses have “adapted” to that environment. When adaptation is achieved, it’s time to shake things up, not only for your physical work out, but for your senses as well. Instead of gym views; the gym aromas and the gym “scene” give your senses a jolt of fresh air, mountain views, seaside salty air, or a local park and see what that can do for you. It is invigorating and akin to going to a different gym you’ve not been to. IT PUMPS YOU UP.

Exercise is all about getting moving and getting your heart rate up and working major muscle groups. The Center for Disease Control recommends for adults ages 18 to 64 that we get 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups. These baseline recommendations can be easily met out doors and we can have fun doing it.

When is the last time you took a mountain hike? You get it all in that venue. Major muscle work, no problem, particularly if you are carrying a backpack for a mountain view lunch. Moderate intensity aerobic activity, done, and then some, due to reduced levels of oxygen as you ascend. Did I mention the views; the smell of the trees and floral aromas giving your senses a needed lift? It’s no wonder that we sleep SO well after these types of jaunts, as all of our senses get renewal and we challenge in bodies in different ways that wake them up.

Remember when inline skates were the “rage”? I bet you got a pair, we did and busted those bad boys out and hit the board walk with all of the accoutrements: knee pads, wrist guards, helmets and yes, cool shades. We may have looked dorky, but we were COOL, just like everyone else rocking the same garb. You talk about a great workout, and fun, AND with a hint of danger, which helps to elevate you heart too no doubt, yes? The quad burn you can get from skating is intense as well as the cardio derived there from. Salty air, scantily clad humanity abounding, what’s not to like about this workout?

Scared of skates or threw them out, post fad? Look, no worries grab your bike or rent one and push the pedals to propel you to some fun scenic workouts that differ from your norms, as it is all about shaking things up to keep things fresh, to keep you excited and engaged in moving your fitness level forward. Since we are talking about skating or biking near the beach, take your shoes off and get in the sand for a walk. The sand, not the hard packed wet compacted stuff near the water line, go for the dry stuff. This is one of the best leg workouts you can tackle. The sand works your calves, like no body’s business, and the instability sand creates works your core and balance all simultaneously. This session will not take long to give you a real sense of a work out. A sand walk even strengthens your foot and ankle complex. It’s the real deal.

It’s not always about going to a gym, or group class or to the newest fad spazzercise session, or faux martial arts throw down, tire chunking or farm animal lift. Don’t get me wrong, ALL of these things are good for us…… well, most of them. No offense farmers. The key is to not overlook what is literally in your backyards, at work, at home, in your neighborhood or general area. Be creative as the list is endless and the returns are huge as “fun” has its own level of fitness reward as fitness is as much about the physical, as it is about the psychological.


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