by Tracey Pollack
Spring is in the air, but are you still cooped up in the house? It’s time to get in the swing of spring by moving your workouts outdoors. Breezy days and lighter nights give you plenty of opportunities to get in shape and get some fresh air. Exercising outdoors is as good for your mind as it is for your body because it soothes your nerves, eases tension, relieves depression, improves your mood and boosts your self-esteem—all while helping you fit in some healthy activity and enjoy the beauty of the season. Try these refreshing ideas to move your workouts outdoors this spring.
Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Get in step with nature by taking a walk outdoors. Walking is the easiest and gentlest way to work out without breaking a sweat. Whether you stroll the streets of your neighborhood or wander through the woods, you’ll have a chance to enjoy the sights and sounds of spring while keeping your heart healthy, controlling your weight and reducing your blood pressure. Walking can also clear your mind and soothe your nerves to help you handle stress in stride. Walk on your own to savor the tranquility or stroll with a friend for some social activity. For weight management, you’ll want to “step up” your pace and get your heart rate going for maximum health benefit.
Put the Pedal to the Metal
Getting some healthy exercise is as easy as riding a bike! While cycling is a heart-pumping cardio workout that raises your heart rate and burns through calories, it’s also a low-impact activity that’s easy on your back and joints. But a healthy blast of cardio is just the beginning of the benefits of biking because it also gives your lower body a workout, tones your muscles and strengthens your core. Beyond what biking does for your body, think about all it can do for your mind, from soothing away anxiety to building your bond with nature. With the warmer weather and brighter nights of spring, try taking cycling for a spin.
Play to Your Heart’s Content
Take the work out of spring workouts by heading to the neighborhood playground. After all, there’s no better way to feel like a kid again than playing like one! Parks and playgrounds offer all kinds of ways to stay active and get in shape while having a ton of fun. Try pull-ups on the monkey bars. Do push-ups against the slide. Tone triceps on the park bench. And strengthen your core on the swing. Plus, spending time on the playground saves you the membership fees of the fitness club, so trade the dreary gym for the closest jungle gym.
Ready, Set, Grow!
While growing a garden can improve your outdoor landscape, did you know it can also improve your health? Gardening is actually a wonderful workout because you’re constantly moving, lifting, pulling, twisting, digging and squatting. This gives your muscles a good workout and your body a good stretch, while giving you garden-fresh fruits and vegetables for healthy meals, as well as beautiful springtime blooms that help soothe away any stress.
Get a “Good” Workout
Regular exercise offers all kinds of benefits, but what if your workout could also benefit people in need? This spring, lend a helping hand by signing up for outdoor volunteering activities, such as cleaning up a local park, building homes for families in need, walking dogs at an animal shelter, taking part in a charity run or helping out with a community garden. Volunteering outdoors this spring can be as good for your health as it is for others.
So freshen up your usual workout and enjoy the fresh air with these easy, breezy ways to stay active outdoors this spring.