Fitness in the Great Outdoors
By Steve Stark
As the summer draws to a close and the weather here in Wisconsin turns "chilly" (it was 36 degrees for my walk last Thursday morning), I find myself becoming depressed. Not swerve into an bridge abutment depressed, but still depressed.
This year more than any other before I have had great outdoor workouts. I don't know if it's the fresh air, sunshine or just the limitless space, exercising outdoors is just better than training in the gym. Soon we'll have 15 inches of snow on the ground and be confined in the gym for our training. Until then, here are some of my favorite outdoor training activities.
- Morning Walk. It's simple, it's a great way to wake up, and gets
my motor going for the rest of the day. A fasted walk before breakfast will force your body to burn a
higher percentage of fat instead of relying on carbohydrates. Just be sure to drink a big glass of water as
your body can become dehydrated after a night's sleep.
- Interval Sprints. Sprints are a great quick, high intensity
workout. They always take me back to the brutal training camps of college, but they also give me a sense of
accomplishment. Also, this is the first year I have run sprints in the Vibram Five Finger shoes and I love
the feel. I would highly recommend giving minimal shoes a try. However, if you are new to minimalist shoes
be sure to ease into it. Walk before you run. In the end your body will love you for trying minimalist
- Cardio Circuit. Cardio circuits are my favorite outdoor training
sessions. Exercises like bear crawls, burpees, push-ups, or any other bodyweight exercise are my favorites
for cardio circuits. You can also use equipment or just find a playground at the school. With the bars,
steps and ropes at the playground you can do a wide variety of exercises. The versatility of the TRX
Suspension System also allows for an endless variation of exercises and is great for cardio
- Bike Ride. Biking is a great summertime exercise that can also
get the family involved. My daughter and I try to go a little further every time we go for a ride. We're up
to about 8 miles and she thinks that's cool. If I can keep her from talking me into stopping for ice cream,
it ends up being a really good workout.
- Hill Sprints. All I can say is "OUCH"! Hill sprints are evil but at the same time awesome. Consider them a cross between weight lifting and sprinting because you get the best of both worlds. There really is no way to "dog it". Hill sprints force you to work hard. These are great high intensity workouts and for me, it's all about survival. As long as I don't have to be carried back to my vehicle after the workout, it's all good.
So I have a few more weeks before Wisconsin becomes the frozen tundra and I'm reduced to working out indoors. Of course my depression will subside with creating new indoor training sessions but I will yearn for the summer and anxiously await the thaw. Until then... at least I have football!