Outdoor Activities to Keep You Fit

( [email protected] ) May 07, 2004 03:38 PM EDT

Looking to spice up your exercise routine? The warmer spring months provide an excellent opportunity to get out of the gym and take part in fun outdoor sports and activities such as flag football, golf and gardening.

To ensure you get the most enjoyment out of these activities, take part in an exercise program several weeks prior to beginning. This will ensure your body is physically prepared for the challenges of your chosen activity. If you have a particular sport in mind, try one of our sport-specific training programs. If you’re looking for general strength for many different sports and activities, try one of the sport training programs found in our 20-minute program list.

Once you’ve chosen your outdoor activity and are ready to begin, prepare your body with a complete warm-up that includes stretching, full body exercises and calisthenics such as walking on the spot, pushups and jumping jacks. Complete the exercise profile to receive a full warm-up and stretch routine.

Fun and effective for health

Since many outdoor activities are so much fun, it is easy to forget that you’re getting a tough and challenging workout. Gardening, for example, challenges your lower back and leg muscles as you constantly bend down and get up. Your shoulders and arms are also challenged as you dig, pull and carry things. Combine these movements for over an hour in the sun and you won’t believe how tired your body will feel. It’s safe to say that these types of activities can provide your body with physical and mental challenges above and beyond the gym environment.

That being said, it’s also important to eat the right foods and take the proper vitamins and supplements to allow your body to handle the challenges and quickly recover for the next time.

Fun and effective for weight loss

If one of your main reasons for exercising is weight loss and weight management, it is important that you choose activities that burn calories. Traditional gym aerobic activities, such as the stationary bike, treadmill walking or jogging and the stair climbing machines, are excellent options. An average 45 to 60 minute workout on these machines burns anywhere between 350 to 650 calories depending on the intensity you choose. Many outdoor activities can replace these gym workouts without any ill effects on your waistline. Refer to the following chart for the number of calories burned during several activities.