In my part of the world spring has sprung! The temperature is rising, the days are longer, and the flowers and trees are blooming, which is a nice way to say that the warmer air is filled with pollen. Even with the yellow tint I see when I go outside, I am loving the opportunity to take my fitness plan outdoors. May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. In honor of this designation, I want to share with you some of my go-to outdoor exercises and encourage you to head outside. The top two advantages I see, is that I can use whatever props are available (steps, benches, picnic tables, retaining walls around landscaping, etc.) and I don’t have to get down in the grass, where much of the pollen can be found. As with any general workout session, I want to include some cardio/continuous movement, strength training, and flexibility. This gives me a well-rounded workout. Check out the photos below and join me for a spring workout today!
Be sure to take your water bottle along with you and drink often during your workout. Walk at a brisk pace or jog for at least 20 minutes, and vary the grade if possible by going up and down hills.
Strengthen your lower body with step ups and lunges. Use an available step or bench that is at a safe height for you and perform 2 sets of 15-20 repetitions per side, or until you feel fatigue and then switch legs.
Strengthen your upper body with 2-3 sets of pushups and dips. Using a table or bench will keep you off the ground and may keep you from sneezing so much. Each set should be 8-12 repetitions.
Strengthen your core with abdominal planks, in a full position on your toes or modified position on your knees. Either way, keep the elbows aligned beneath your shoulders and maintain a horizontal position through your trunk. Hold in that strong pose for 20 seconds, 3-5 times.
Flexibility is vital to overall physical health and wellness, and should always be a portion of your workout session. Stretches can be held for any length of time, with the general accepted recommendation of 30 seconds each. Perform hamstring stretches and calf stretches as shown in the pictures below, and stretch each muscle group 2-3 times to complete today’s outdoor workout.
Amy Stafford is the President of Body & Soul Fitness. She is a Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, ACE (American Council on Exercise) Faculty member, wife of Steven, and mom to Jordan.