Running up and down a stairwell is a great workout but it can get stale quickly. Stair exercises can shake the boredom up while also challenging the lower body even more. Add to that it's also a no-excuse workout — all you have to do is show up! Whether it's at your local park, office, or apartment building, we are pretty certain there is a stairwell near you. Learn these five easy moves and get ready to make the most of your next excursion to the park!
Working out in the great outdoors can be absolutely invigorating. And getting your sweat on outside is not limited to running; you can strength train at a park using benches as props. Here are five full-body exercises that feel more like play than strength training. Press play, learn the moves, then take your workout outside.
The blustery cold weather and snowy landscape may not deter you from sticking to your New Year's resolutions, but it's important to take the right precautions to minimize the risk of getting sick. Battling an illness takes time and energy that could be spent doing other things, not to mention the possibility of it derailing your fitness goals. Whether you exercise indoors or brave the outdoor temps, don't forget to prepare with these useful tips for staying healthy.
- Clean equipment thoroughly: Fellow gym-goers are supposed to wipe down equipment after they're done, but just as a precaution, sanitize it before you use it. Or better yet, bring your own gear such as yoga mats, blocks, resistance bands, and even dumbbells to decrease your chances of coming in contact with other people's germs.
- Use a towel for your sweat: Gyms are festering with germs in the Winter, and since touching your face is one surefire way to get sick, use a towel instead of your hands to wipe your perspiration. Then after your workout, be sure to wash up.
- Don't leave the gym in wet clothes: Your sweaty workout wear will get chilly in the cold Winter air, which can weaken your immune system and leave you susceptible to any germs floating around, so change out of your exercise clothes before you leave the gym.
- Decrease your workout's intensity if you have a cold: If you're sick and have above-the-neck symptoms — meaning a runny nose or sore throat but no hacking coughs, chest congestion, swollen lymph nodes, or muscle pain — then you can still exercise, but start at half your normal intensity, and gradually increase as you feel up to it.
- Wear the right gear: Eye-searing UV rays, slippery roads, and chilly wet clothes are all reasons to dress the part for your Winter workout by wearing sunglasses, sunblock, waterproof sneaks with rugged soles, and wicking wear.
- Warm up indoors: Not loosening up those muscles and getting your blood flowing can lead to muscle strain, which makes you more susceptible to injury during your workout. Spend a few minutes warming up indoors (five to 10 minutes of cardio should do the trick) so you can prevent injury and soreness.
Beyond just doing cardio outside, celebrate Spring (and Arbor Day) by getting your stretch on in the fresh air: a tree makes a perfect prop for targeting tight muscles. Learn some basic stretches in this slideshow, and if you're stuck inside, you can still do these stretches using a wall.
My weekend saw a lot of rain. While I was content to stay dry indoors, I noticed quite the opposite from folks in my neighborhood. I passed at least five rain-soaked runners on my way to the local coffee shop, and while on my way to visit a friend, a handful of cyclists zipped by me, biking through multiple puddles in their path.
I will almost always choose exercising outdoors over the gym — except when it's raining. Besides being caught in an unexpected downpour during a hike, I've never exercised in the rain. My klutzy tendencies coupled with slippery surfaces don't seem like a good mix! Running in the rain doesn't have to be avoided — there are some people who actually prefer to brave the elements during their run. And for runners and cyclists who may be training for a race, having past experiences with being outdoors during a storm can help prepare them for the unexpected if there is rain on their race day.
On my way to spin class last night, I decided to hightail it home. The evening weather was unusually warm, which inspired me to grab my bike and ride to the beach instead. The nine-mile bike ride wasn't as regimented — or intense — as a spin class, but I did get the payoff of spending sunset at the ocean. I also made sure to not treat it like a casual Sunday morning ride; I kept a fast pace on my way there, and, on the way back, I climbed a pretty steady incline. I also gave myself just a few minutes to enjoy the sunset while stretching — I didn't want to take too long of a break and let my heart rate drop!
The rowing machine, stationary bike, and treadmill are just a few of the gym machines that mimic outdoor activities. And while I always choose real life over being a gym rat, it's not a universal truth. There are many people I know who dislike the unexpected challenges that exercising outdoors can present — rainstorm, anyone? And, for people on a weight-loss program, the formulaic benefits of being in a class may far outweigh a beautiful sunset.
Where do you stand when in comes to your workouts?
I'm not usually a morning exerciser (or a morning person), but a busy evening schedule recently led me to bite the bullet and set my alarm to fit in a morning run. Once I joined the regular runners at a nearby park and slowly made my way out of my groggy fog, a fellow runner passed me by with a cheery, "Good morning!" No one else jogging on the trail was quite as awake or as cheerful, and considering the popularity of the trail it would've been weird if everyone greeted each other! But I have been on less-trafficked routes where meeting someone on your run is grounds for a least a nod of acknowledgement. What about you? Do you greet fellow runners while you work out?
Source: Flickr User Steve-H
The Dog Days of Summer have come and gone — soon enough it will be the end of the season altogether! Before sunny skies are replaced with the cooler temps of Fall, make sure you have a go at these favorite Summer fitness activities. Because unlike multi-season sports like running and biking, Summer temps and warm weather are a must for these five sun-filled activities.