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Take it Outside! Outdoor Fitness Ideas


by Deb McLeod

With flowers blooming and birds chirping, you might have a hankering to get outside. Moving your workout outdoors is one way to get outside, enjoy the fresh air and benefit your health all at once.

If you're a gym rat, though, or you enjoy working out in the privacy of your own home, you might not immediately think to plan a workout in the sunshine. But you don't have to do a formal workout to keep fit. There are many things you can do outdoors that back up your fitness regime and are fun in the process.

Find a park
For some throwback fun, consider finding a park with a par course. These courses lead you through larger parks and instruct you to complete a series of exercises before you jog or run to the next station. (Check with your local parks and recreation department to find out if any of your local parks have a par course.)

If there's no par course, you can still create a fun workout at the park. Find one with a walking or running trail and use that for your cardio component. You can do pull-ups on the monkey bars, chase the kids to the swing set, and use the play structure's stairs as a stepper. In no time, you can create a workout that's a change from the ordinary.

Find a court
Haven't played basketball or tennis in a while? Maybe it's time to dust off the old tennis racquet and give it a go, or head to the park and shoot some baskets. If you have a child old enough to play with you, challenge him or her to a game of pickup basketball, and don't go easy (or let them go easy on you).

Visit the garden center
While this itself isn't a workout, you do have to work with all those plants you buy. Getting your yard ready for a garden and planting is hard work. If you spend a day in the yard sowing your garden, you will get a good workout.

To make gardening even more of a fitness challenge, consider planting a tree or moving a large plant to another part of your yard. The shoveling and handling of the plant will give you a good strength workout.

Be a kid
Head out into your newly refreshed yard and play with the dog. Chase him around the yard. Ten minutes of that is sure to get your heart rate up. Once you are warmed up, challenge the kids to a game of tag, or head to the trampoline to a bit of jumping with them. Think about all the things you enjoyed as a child - digging in the dirt, playing kick ball, playing tag, running after each other with water guns. Act like a kid and you're sure to get a workout.

Take a "walkcation"
These days, everyone talks about the concept of a "staycation" where you take a vacation at home, getting to know your home town like a tourist might. A fitness twist on this is a "walkcation". Get a book or find a website that features hikes near your town, and each weekend take one of the recommended hikes.

Not only will you benefit from a fitness standpoint, but you'll also get to know - with some intimacy - the natural wonder that surrounds you.

And that's good for body and soul.

Categories: Feature Stories, Just for me, Take Care of You,

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New FeatureRelated Articles: Simple Summer Spruce-Ups for Outdoors, Jillian Michaels: Fitness Ultimatum 2011 - 10 Fitness Tips,

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