Exercising in the great outdoors is the best. It’s peaceful, invigorating and calming — all at the same time. When navigating external variables such as wind, heat and cold, outdoor exercise can be even more time efficient — burning 5–7% more calories than an indoor sweat session. Furthermore, research shows outdoor activity can smash stress significantly more than similar indoor workouts.
Need some outside fitness ideas? Look no further! Being in Wisconsin I bring out the sleds when the snow falls. Sledding is a fantastic hill interval in disguise — especially if you’re dragging kids in those sleds on the way up.
I reached out to my Under Armour Training Team colleagues to find out their favorite activities to do in the fresh air.
Our trainers from sunny climates enjoy bringing their boot camp classes out into the sun.
Todd Durkin, a San Diego, California-based owner of Fitness Quest 10 favors a “boot camp class that combines running, calisthenics and some old-school military chants. Ooh-rahh!”
Trevor Anderson, who works with elite and everyday athletes at his Better Every Day Performance Institute in Florida, incorporates “athletic agility work using cones, mini hurdles and weighted sleds. It is obvious that I would do this with my NFL, college and high school football players, but average, everyday folks feel empowered when they can get out on the grass and get a chance to move in space. We incorporate footballs and make it fun. People love training like the pros and feeling great afterwards.”
“It’s a great feeling when you take your athleticism, strength and motivation outside the walls of the gym and apply that to something beautiful and ever-changing. I can run the same trail twice a week, and it’s always different,” says Kari Woodall of BLAZE Fitness and TRX Training. “Trail running is easier on your joints than concrete. Additionally, the diverse terrain (holes, bumps, fallen trees, elevation changes, etc.) means that I have to watch for and adjust my takeoff and landing, which is fantastic functional training. Not only is it a beautiful and serene environment, it’s good for your body.”
Calgary, Alberta, Canada-based trainer Rich Hesketh, of DECAMAN Athletics, likes to run in the softer grass of a soccer field or track infield when the Canadian weather permits. “Barefoot and/or grass running provides an added challenge to balance and strengthen the 200 (plus) structures in the lower leg, ankle and feet that tend to be neglected with wearing shoes most of the time,” Hesketh says. “Strong feet give athletes and recreational fitness enthusiasts a great base of support from the ground up. It just feels good to connect with the earth when there is grass or sand between your toes.”
Dan McDonogh, is the 2012 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and founder of Rooster Racing International, a group of determined fitness professionals and cyclists who raise awareness and funds for special causes. It is no surprise he encourages everybody to get on a bike because of the “variety of types of conditioning one can do, the low-impact nature of the sport and [the fact] it’s a great way to sightsee with the family.”
Tim DiFrancesco, former head strength and conditioning coach for the Los Angeles Lakers and founder of TD Athletes Edge, likes to challenge the anaerobic metabolism through “hill sprints, an amazing way to get cardio conditioning in a low-impact and time-effective workout”
Why look at going outside as a workout at all when we can add some fun to fitness?
Alexandre Veret, a master trainer for TRX and Les Mills, loves to play Frisbee because it is “simple and effective cross-training of metabolic conditioning, coordination and agility drills.”
Steve Saunders, director of performance for the Baltimore Ravens and founder of Power Train Sports & Fitness, is very enthusiastic about his favorite outdoor sport, “Football! It’s what we live for these days. Everything is about training properly so it transfers to the field.”
“Beach volleyball is a great activity on the competitive level and also as a recreational sport,” says Marc Coronel, of Open Mind Fitness, TRX and Trigger Point. “The sport is fun and the sand provides a great workout.”
And of course one of our Canadians, Mark Fitzgerald, strength and conditioning coach of the Anaheim Ducks, touts street hockey as the perfect outdoor activity. “Being Canadian, it’s an activity that we grow up with and one that never loses its fun. As a young kid I remember playing with friends until my parents forced us inside and now it’s something I pass along to my kids.”
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