Gym routines get boring. 40 minutes on the treadmill. 30 reps here, 20 reps there. Spice up your daily routine with some fresh air.
Switching up your routine can shake-up your weight-loss plateau, prevent overuse injuries caused by repetitive motions, build new muscles and motive you to get excited about fitness again. Get outside and get fit with one of these five adventurous workouts.
A day on the water can be good for the soul and good for your body. Paddling through the water in a kayak builds upper body strength by working your back, triceps, shoulders, forearms, and abdominals. If you don’t have your own gear most popular water areas have boating, canoeing, and kayak rental shops with boats, paddles, life vests and more.
If you love hiking and all things outdoors, consider rock climbing or free climbing. Great for cardiovascular health, rock climbing also leads to increased muscle tone in the arms, back, chest and legs through high-steps, long reaches and stemming. If you can’t make it to the mountains, check out a local climbing gym, these clubs are popping up everywhere, and they provide all of the equipment that you need and most offer lessons for beginners.
Take your indoor stationary cycling routine outdoors with an adventure across your city, or through country terrain. Riding outside is better than spinning indoors. Why? Outdoor cycling requires full body balance and your muscles (glutes, quadriceps, shins and calves) have to react quickly to the changing environment and terrain. Make sure that your bike is properly fitted to your body and consider a helmet and padded gloves for long rides.
Much like kayaking, dragon boat is physically demanding, working both the upper and lower body. Dragon boating isn’t a workout you can do solo. The 40 foot long boat can hold up to 20 paddlers. Joining a group or a team of likeminded athletes is a great way to meet new people, learn something new, and your teammates can challenge you to work harder. Many clubs encourage new paddlers to join. Don’t forget your sunglasses, sunscreen and a towel and change of clothes just in case.
Not only does hiking reduces levels of stress and anxiety, this outdoor cardio exercise can lower your risk of heart disease, improve blood sugar levels, build strength in your lower body, help control your weight and strengthen your core. For safety reasons, always bring a friend along and pack just enough of the essentials (water, first-aid supplies extra clothing) to get you through the night if something unexpected happens. In addition to hiking, carrying a 10-15 pound backpack on your trek can increase muscle strength in your lower back and boost your calorie burn, up to 15 percent, according to American Hiking Society president Gregory Miller.
Kick your boring gym workout, grab a friend and get outside. Nature is calling.
Image courtesy of Richard Masoner/Flickr