Our region provides a lot of choices when it comes to enjoying an outdoor workout, and I challenge you to try something new this season, which can be invigorating and provide inspiration for your routine.
Before You Start
Prior to engaging in a new workout program, it is a good idea to check with your health care provider, who can guide you on the best activity for you. This is an important first step that will set you up for success.
I have always believed that once cleared by your health provider, exercising in a health club environment is the best training for being active in the great outdoors. Seek out a qualified fitness professional who can provide you with specific exercises to maximize the benefits of your time outside and minimize the risk of injury.
If you have been sedentary through the winter, try a morning or evening walk. Just 15 minutes each day will provide benefits, both physical and mental. Gardening is another great way to exercise outdoors and provides an excellent way to burn calories, strengthen muscles and promote a sunny outlook.
Hop on a Bike
Biking is a popular activity here in Northern Arizona and offers a wonderful way to enjoy nature while getting in a good workout. Whether you stay on the pavement or hit the trail, cycling strengthens the heart and legs as well as provides a great opportunity to practice balance using the core muscles. We are fortunate to have many miles of well-maintained trails here, and biking provides an excellent activity for training the heart, strengthening the legs and challenging balance and stability.
Head Out for a Hike
If you prefer walking instead of riding, trekking poles have become quite popular and can add stability, preventing a fall on uneven ground. They also help strengthen the arms.
Kayaking is another enjoyable activity that can provide a solid workout as well as relaxation. Kayaking requires use of the upper-body muscles and can increase strength in the back. It also targets the posture muscles that keep the body in the upright position. The benefit of being on the water and the ability to row and then rest makes this a great moderate activity that almost anyone can enjoy.
Finally, follow these general guidelines for a healthy, fun outdoor experience:
- Bring along water and drink often. If you are with others, carry more than you think you will need, as you may have to share.
- Wear proper footwear, breathable, light clothing and a hat that provides good protection from the sun.
- Apply sunscreen – and bring it with you. Perspiration will reduce its effectiveness, and it is important to reapply often.
Start preparing now for a fun, active summer – and be well prepared when you head outdoors! QCBN
By Lisa Fry
Lisa Fry is the health & fitness director for Touchmark at The Ranch. Her responsibilities include overseeing the Touchmark Health & Fitness Club, which includes an indoor pool, state-of-the-art equipment, certified personal trainers and group classes. The Club is open to anyone 50 years and older. To reach her or for more information, call 928-708-3133.