November 7, 2016

6 Ways To Get Fit Outside And Embrace The Cold Weather

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Unsplash / Kyle Kranz
Unsplash / Kyle Kranz

The colder weather is upon us, and this is actually the best time of year to start working on your bikini body. While it’s all too common to wait until summer is fast-approaching to start desperately working out, it’s a much better idea to start now. If you start exercising and eating healthy now, you’ll have no problem getting into beach-bod shape in time for summer.

Exercise should be fun, because if you don’t enjoy it, you’ll probably never do it. Just because the weather is getting colder, doesn’t mean your options are restricted to indoor workouts. Even if it’s cold out, you should still try to incorporate the outdoors into your exercise regime.

A study from the Journal of Environmental Psychology, for example, explained that there are several positive effects from being outdoors, including increased vitality, decreased stress, decreased depression and a better overall mood. An outdoor workout is also the best way to get a natural high, reenergize yourself and avoid the cold-weather blues.

The great news is, your body burns more calories when you exercise in the cold, outdoors. This is because as your body has to work harder to keep you warm when it’s cold outside. The outdoors is also a more pleasant environment than the gym, so it’s likely you’ll enjoy your workout more and opt for a longer, more complete workout.

Additionally, if you exercise outside you don’t have to worry about someone using the piece of gym equipment you need, nor will you have to deal with treadmill-hoggers. In other words, an outdoor workout can actually be much more efficient than a gym session.

1. Dress warmly and go biking

Due to winds and varying terrain, cycling outdoors requires more energy than cycling on a stationary bike and you therefore will burn more calories if you choose the outdoor option. Research has also shown that exercising outside in nature results in better mental well-being and a higher level of enjoyment of exercise. For example, your surroundings outdoors will be more beautiful and scenic as you cycle, resulting in a more enjoyable and beneficial workout. Incorporate hills for a more challenging, fat-burning workout.

2. Run to the gym

It’s understandable that sometimes you need gym equipment to achieve a complete workout — but that doesn’t mean you can’t still incorporate an outdoor workout. Running to the gym instead of driving is a great warm-up, and the fresh air you take in from running there will boost your energy and mental alertness, resulting in a better workout upon arrival at the gym. When you run to the gym, you’ll have already completed your cardio upon arrival, allowing you to focus on strength at the gym. If you tend to work out in the evenings, make sure you wear reflective gear so that you’re seen by cars at night when you’re running.

3. Go on a hike

Plenty of hikes stay open all year round. The rough terrain, rocks and uphill battle that you get on a hike is a fantastic outdoor workout. Anything that involves hiking uphill is also a great way to tone and shape your butt and legs. You’ll feel good being outside in the fresh air, you won’t be cold because you’ll be working up a sweat, and at the end of it all you’ll get to enjoy a beautiful view at the top.

4. Outdoor full-body circuit

An outdoor bootcamp-style, full-body circuit can be done indoors or outdoors, but outdoors is best, according to research. Fitness expert Natalie Langston recommended an awesome fitness-on-the-run outdoor bootcamp-style circuit. Her workout detailed below is easy to do outside, and can be done anywhere and at any time of the year:

Warmup:

Start with a 3-4 minute warmup to increase your core temperature and release synovial fluid. A warmup can be jogging on the spot, doing jumping jacks and high knees.

The Workout:

Do each exercise in succession without breaking.

  • 10 Bridge Hip Raises (each leg)
  • 20 Mountain Climbers
  • 15 Squats
  • 10 Lunges (each leg)
  • 25 Jumping Jacks

Advanced:

  • 25 Jumping Squats
  • 20 Decline Push-ups (feet up on a park bench or rock so that you are on an incline towards the ground).
  • 15 Mountain Climbers, with option to advance to side plank: 15 reps each side (begin in a plank position. Lift right foot and run your right knee into your chest, quickly switch to bring your left knee in to chest. Switch four times while keeping your abs tight and engaged. Lower back into a plank position)
  • 10 (Ball) Crunches, with optional full sit-up (with access to a balance ball, transfer ball between feet and hands while lying on your back, keep core tight and engaged)
  • 10 Superman (lying on your stomach with your feet pointed, extend your arms out in front while raising your chest and feet as high as you can comfortably go; hold for five seconds and lower back down)

Cooldown:

Pick four or five areas of your body that are tight to perform self-myofascial release (foam rolling). Roll thigh to knee or back of calf from knee to ankle until you find an area that is tight, hold for 30 seconds each. For a greater stretch, roll side to side on that tight area. Then do some static stretching with the balance ball to stretch out.

5. Go snowshoeing

If you’re lucky enough to live within driving distance to a mountain resort like I do, go snowshoeing. Snowshoeing is a great workout because it is cardio, strength and endurance. You’ll be working your muscles as you snowshoe up a mountain, so much so that your legs will burn afterwards. And, you’ll also get to see some absolutely stunning snowy scenery, which is a great cure for the winter blues.

6. HIIT Training With Outdoor Hill Sprints

Hill sprints are a great outdoor workout because they’re a form of effective HIIT training. Here is a recommended HIIT workout incorporating your neighborhood’s outdoor hills:

Warm-up:

  • 5-20-minute light run

The Workout:

  • 12 uphill sprints in total.
  • Sprints 1-4: 50% effort
  • Sprints 5-8: 75% effort
  • Sprints 9-12: 90-100% effort

Cooldown:

  • A 5- to 20-minute light run

So there you have it. Embrace the cold weather and workout outside, rather than hiding out at the gym all winter.

Share this article with your friends who you want to workout outside with! TC mark

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