Top 10 Outdoor Workouts for Spring
By Mackenzie Lobby
Spring is the perfect time to inject a little creativity into your workout routine. Along with warming temperatures, many athletes find a renewed sense of motivation for exercise. Jump on board the inspiration train and consider trying out a new kind of workout to jump-start your season.
Think of this spring as your chance to get out of your comfort zone and attempt something different. Consider trying one or all of the following outdoor workouts for spring; from endurance fiends to low intensity workout gurus, there’s something for everyone.
1. Boot camp
Outdoor boot camps are organized fitness classes that include both endurance and strength-based exercises. If you’re looking to get in shape fast, these lung-busting outdoor workouts will give you a run for your money. Boot camp classes can include running, resistance training, plyometrics and a long list of other exercises to whip you into shape.
Yoga can provide a great outdoor workout, as well as a means through which to appreciate the natural setting around you. While there are a number of different styles of yoga, all work to increase strength and balance, as well as promote proper breathing.
3. Paddle Boarding
The newest and hippest sport around, paddle boarding is gaining in popularity from coast to coast. Using a surfboard or similar device, you simply stand on the board with a long paddle to propel yourself forward. In addition to requiring good balance, this exercise also calls for adequate upper body strength to move around in the water.
Hiking is an excellent low-impact activity to get you outside. All you need are a pair of hiking boots and a path to follow. The best part of the activity is the scenery. From prairies to nature preserves, hiking gives you the chance to get off road and in nature.
For a high-intensity endurance exercise, get out for a jog around the neighborhood or on local trails. Running improves both muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance, giving you some of the greatest health benefits any activity can offer. Remember to start small and increase mileage gradually to avoid injury.
For the adventurous athletes who enjoy the open water, kayaking fits the bill. With both single-passenger and double-passenger kayaks available, this is a great activity to do on your own or with a friend. Giving your legs a rest, kayaking will really work your upper body.
There’s a reason all kids love to bike; it’s fun! What’s more, it turns out that it’s also a great workout. Biking is an optimal no-impact option if you have issues with your knees or hips. For those with back problems, a recumbent bike can help get you rolling down the trails pain-free.
8. Rock Climbing
While you can always rock climb indoors at your local climbing wall, it is arguably more fun on a real rock wall. Be sure you go with an experienced climber in order to learn proper safety and technique. Climbing helps to strengthen even the smallest muscles — from your fingers to your toes — providing a true total body workout.
If you’re looking for less intensity but more adventure in an outdoor workout, consider orienteering. With a map and compass, this activity calls for you to navigate the woods using your own know-how. With check points along the way, also called control points, you race the clock as you make your way to the finish.
10. Disc Golf
Following rules similar to traditional golf, disc golf involves throwing discs into baskets or at specified targets. Moving from one “hole” to the next, players work to make it through the course with the fewest throws. In addition to precision, disc golf involves a lot of time on your feet, making it a fun calorie burner.
Mackenzie Lobby is a Minneapolis-based endurance sports and fitness journalist and coach with a Master's in Kinesiology. Check out her website at www.mackenzielobby.com.