As the warmth of spring begins to envelop the city of Edmonton, there’s no better time to embrace the great outdoors and infuse your fitness routine with the vitality of nature. Beyond the realm of dedicated athletes and avid hikers, the allure of outdoor workouts beckons to all, inviting residents to step outside their front doors and into a realm of endless possibilities for physical activity. From neighborhood parks to picturesque trails, Edmontonians are presented with a wealth of opportunities to harness the beauty of their surroundings and embark on invigorating outdoor workouts. Whether you’re seeking a brisk jog through leafy pathways or a serene yoga session amidst the tranquility of nature, the landscape of Edmonton offers a canvas for exploration and revitalization.
One of the biggest reasons people don’t go to the gym is because of the cost. Some people have difficulty coming up with $50 – $100 a month to pick things up and put them down, or walk on a treadmill. If that’s you, then you will definitely want to check out the workout section at the end of this article. Working out and training outside is absolutely free! The only thing you need to do is stretch your imagination a little bit and turn up the intensity to make your workout rival one done at an indoor facility.
Another benefit of outdoor training is gaining an enhanced mood. This is especially true for anyone in Edmonton who just spent their time in apparently the coldest February in 40 years. With more sunlight, trees, and space than a conventional fitness centre, outdoor workouts have been shown to improve mood beyond traditional exercise alone. A study in the Journal of Stress Management showed that an enjoyable workout while being outside account for some of the mental benefits that you can experience from exercise. Also, as little as 5 minutes of outdoor activity can help to reduce anger, depression, and help improve self-esteem.
One of the most overlooked consequences of training in a traditional gym is the monotony of it. Ask yourself if you’ve been doing the same routine and exercises day in and day out for the last couple months. Most people who work out 5 days a week usually do something like this: Monday – chest day, Tuesday – back day, Wednesday – shoulders, Thursday – legs and Friday – arms. SWITCH IT UP! Go outside and get in a full body workout. Even better, if you’re on vacation and you are going to be at a beach, use that opportunity to do some pushups, squats, and running. The uneven nature of the sand will make you use stability muscles you never knew you had.
Another benefit of outdoor exercise is always an overlooked one. It’s FUN. Training is supposed to be fun; it’s supposed to be something you enjoy. If you’re not enjoying your training, chances are you’ll end up skipping workouts or maybe even dropping it all together. No Bueno. Most of the best memories I have from when I was younger involve playing outside; playing cops and robbers, riding bikes throughout the trails in the city, water gun fights, sports and the list goes on. It wasn’t about playing on the computer or waiting for the TV to be free so you could play video games, that’s what we did when it rained. You can experience this kind of fun again at any age; grab your friends, kids, spouse, or go by yourself and head outside to get some activity in. Who knows? You might meet someone interesting ;).
Here are some ideas you can take with you the next time you your searching for some great outdoor workouts:
- Walking, running, biking, rollerblading, skate boarding. If you want a challenge, find a trail that has some hills through it. Sprint the hills and walk the descents and flat portions. If no trail is available, find a baseball field that isn’t being used and run the bases; pretend to hit a single, a double, steal bases, and SCORE!!!
- Do your stretching routine outside! Touch your toes, stretch your quads and calves, and find a tree or goal post where you can stretch your back, chest, biceps and triceps. Or better yet, use your phone and perform a yoga routine outside.
- You can perform strength exercises as straight sets or circuit style for the added cardio benefit.
Perform 2 – 3 sets of each exercise with an all-out effort as safely as possible
- Legs – lunges/jump lunges
- Chest – pushups/plyometric push ups
- Back – chin up and rows from goal posts/superman to air rows
- Shoulders – pike/handstand push up
- Biceps – curls on a railing or towel curls on a goal post
- Triceps – dips on a railing or close grip push ups
- Abs – jackknives/Russian twists/mountain climbers
You don’t need to do much or go far to get in your outdoor workouts Aside from the aerobic stuff, you can do the stretching and strength training in a field nearby, on your front lawn or even in your backyard.
By: Wasim Hanif