Thinking spring? It's time to break out of your cabin fever - and what better reason than to get some exercise? Explore the outdoors, get more fresh air and enjoy a change of scenery, all the while getting your heart pumping and your body moving. Below are seven fresh outdoor workout ideas for you to make the most of the spring!
- Stair climbing or bleacher runs - You can get in a great workout outside anywhere you can find a sizable set of steps, like at a park or a local stadium that's open to the public. Stair climbing will blast your quads, hamstrings and glutes into shape, and it will provide a great workout for your heart as well. One way to challenge your muscles is to start your sets off on alternating legs, but be sure to take your time at the beginning of each set so that you can get used to leading with the opposite leg. As you get more accustomed to the motion, you can alternate your speeds from a steady climb to a full-on sprint in order to recruit even more muscles and burn more calories.
- Trail running - Aside from the obvious benefit of enjoying the natural surroundings, trail running provides you with challenging terrain that will thoroughly work your thighs, glutes and calves. Trail running will also sharpen your coordination and reflexes, as you'll sometimes need to navigate sketchy or uneven terrain. If you can, choose a trail that has several hills.
- Hiking - While obviously not as fast-paced as trail running, hiking is still a great way to elevate your heart rate and clear your head. Going on a long hike--especially if you use hiking poles--will provide you with an excellent workout. A slow, steady hike over challenging terrain is one of the best ways to engage muscles that you don't commonly use every day, and it will demand greater concentration and mental clarity, giving your mind a workout as well. Often, hiking trails and parks will have outdoor workout equipment like parallel bars, balance beams and more for you to supplement your hike or trail run with a little body-weight strength training.
- Cycling - Time to hop of the stationary bike and actually get somewhere! Spending some time cycling at your local public park or bike trail will give you an invigorating way to enjoy nature and get your blood flowing.
- Rollerblading - Besides being just plain fun, rollerblading is a great cardio activity that can strengthen your quads, sculpt your glutes and increase your stamina. The deep knee bending that's required to propel you forward will do wonders for working your outer thigh muscles in particular.
- Tennis - Neighborhood parks and sports clubs like Five Seasons are opening up their outdoor courts as the weather takes a turn for the better, so dust off your racket, grab a partner and get back in the swing! Never played before? Spring is the perfect time to start!
- Uphill sprints - Your local park--or practically anywhere with a decent sized hill--can serve as a great natural stairmaster for a sprinting cardio workout. Your goal will be to sprint up the hill and then walk back down, repeating this exercise about six to eight times in a row. The faster you intend to run, the shorter and steeper the hill should be, and vice versa.