Now that the gray days of winter have passed for another year, it’s time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather of spring and summer. And while kicking back by the barbecue and lounging on the beach are both legitimate nice-weather activities, it can’t hurt to get active every now and again.
Outdoor exercise really has two advantages: First, sunshine is a good source of vitamin D and generally makes us feel better. Secondly, cardiovascular workouts are good for our heart and lungs, help lower our blood pressure and burn excess calories.
If you’ve been stuck on the treadmill or you can’t seem to escape the confines of your step aerobics class, here are six outdoor activities you might want to try this summer that will get your heart pumping:
- Walking is probably the most popular outdoor activity and is a great exercise for beginners. Because it is a low-impact and relatively stress-free activity, many people can walk for long durations at time. If you’d like a more intense or harder cardiovascular workout, you should walk faster or up hills.
- Running and jogging are high-impact activities, so you’ll want to slowly work up to your desired speed and distance, but your body will likely fall into a natural rhythm after some practice. To keep yourself motivated, consider finding a running partner or joining a running club.
- Cycling is not only a great way to get your legs in shape and your heart working hard, but once you are comfortable on a bicycle, it is also an ideal alternative to traditional transportation. Though the initial investment to begin cycling can be more expensive, the health and environmental benefits are a huge pay-off in the end.
- Kayaking is a fun way to get off the beach and onto the water. The forward paddling required in kayaking is a low-impact, full-range exercise that tones the upper body, increases flexibility and improves circulation. Brisk kayaking can also help you burn a significant number of calories.
- Inline skating has died off as a popular trend but it’s still a cardio workout that is guaranteed to burn calories. In fact, an hour of inline skating can burn more than 800 calories, and it does a fine job of toning the leg and core muscles as well.
- Be a kid again and start a pick-up game of basketball, soccer, volleyball or tennis. Any activities that involve faster-than-average movements over an extended period of time are good for your cardiovascular health. Many of these activities also tone your muscles and improve coordination as well.
So what are you waiting for? The sun is out and there’s no time like today to begin a new cardiovascular workout. If you need further incentive, stop by The Specific Chiropractic Center on May 12 at 6:30 p.m. for more ideas on how you can enjoy the outdoors while improving your health and well-being.
Bliss on the Water. Alive.com. (August 2007) Retrieved May 2, 2010 from http://www.alive.com/6224a15a2.php?subject_bread_cramb=94.
Cardiovascular Activities. FitStep.com. Retrieved May 2, 2010 from http://www.fitstep.com/Library/Info/Cardio_activities2.htm.
Flynn, Sarah Wassner. Skate Yourself Fit and Trim. SheKnows.com. Retrieved May 2, 2010 from http://www.sheknows.com/articles/803427/inline-skating-gets-you-fit-fast-rollerblading-for-fitness.
What is Cardiovascular Exercise? IdeasforWomen.com. Retrieved May 2, 2010 from http://www.ideasforwomen.com/health/fit-5sp-cardio-1.php.
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