Exercise Outdoors – No Gym Membership Required

Have you had your fill of bone-chilling temperatures, record snowfall, and too much time indoors this winter? Ask anyone in Northeastern Ohio, and most will tell you they’re glad to see blue sky and signs of spring.

Staying active in the gym is a smart plan during the winter months, but after surviving the second coldest season on record since 1895, you’re probably ready to soak up some sun and be more active outdoors. Here are some tips for exercising outdoors:

Walk, Jog, Run
You can burn some serious calories on a treadmill, but it’s not the same as feeling the road or trail beneath your feet and watching the world go by. So skip your treadmill workout and head outside to walk, jog, or run. If you’ve already got a favorite route in your neighborhood, lace up your running shoes and get going. If you don’t, check out MapMyRun.com or RunKeeper.com to find other routes in your area, or plan a run when you’re out of town.

Play in the Park
You’ll probably want to skip the slides and swings where the kiddos are, but you can still play in the park. In fact, many of the Cleveland Metroparks were designed to encourage exercise and feature designated fitness trails at Bedford, Big Creek, Brecksville, Euclid Creek, Mill Stream Run, North Chagrin, Rocky River, and South Chagrin. These parks also include outdoor exercise equipment for pull-ups, push-ups, curl-ups, tricep dips, jump squats, and more. It’s a perfect place to combine a cardio workout and strength training and enjoy being outside.

You can also create your own outdoor circuit training workout that combines jogging with bodyweight exercises like jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, push-ups, and sprints. Try jogging for 5 minutes, then stop and do a bodyweight exercise for 1 minute. Resume jogging and repeat the process. Planning a 30 to 60-minute workout this way will rev up your metabolism, and increase your strength and endurance.

Choose Your Own Adventure
Living near Lake Erie also opens the door to a long list of outdoor recreation activities you can enjoy. Hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, outdoor yoga, and mountain biking are just a few of the kinds of activities to choose from that will elevate your heart rate, burn a ton of calories, and help you fit exercise into your schedule without ever stepping into the gym. Check out Northeast Ohio is Great, for a list of resources to help you choose your own adventure.

If you’re ready to say goodbye to winter along with treadmill and stationary bike workouts, make time to exercise outdoors. Before you head out the door, consider bringing along some water, a healthy snack, and sunscreen. Exercising outdoors is a great alternative to working out inside. You’ll breathe in fresh air, enjoy a change of scenery, and get an endorphin-rush that can motivate you to stick with your health and fitness goals.

Written by Evan Jensen

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