Many people have a desire to hit the gym whether it's to lose weight, build muscle mass, tone up or improve cardiovascular health. Unfortunately in today's busy world, very little free time is afforded to the average person. Work, meetings, marriage, kids, unexpected emergencies. That's life today. In fact, if you were to ask someone who wants to go to the gym why he or she doesn't, the most likely reason will be "because I don't have time." Reason #2 is usually "it's too expensive." So the most logical solution would be: to go outside!
Going outdoors for exercise is a fantastic way to save time and money, not to mention breathing the fresh air and viewing the outdoor scenery its a natural stress-reliever and memory booster. A study conducted by psychology researchers Marc Berman, John Jonides and Stephen Kaplan from the University of Michigan, found that memory and attention spans improved by 20 percent after people spent an hour interacting with nature.
Here are the top 5 exercises that can be done outdoors in relatively any climate and geographical location (in no particular order).
- Running/jogging- you have control over how fast you want to go and the duration, whether you're going through your neighborhood or taking a scenic route through a nearby park. A145-lb person can burn 300 calories by running at 5.2 mph for 30 minutes. But it takes time to build up stamina and endurance to get to that point.
- Bicyling- you can change gears on the bike each time you ride to vary the intensity and difficulty level. By using the power of your legs, you increase endurance while burning lots of calories, anywhere from 250-500 in 30 minutes, depending on how fast you go and how high your resistance is.
- Rollerblading/rollerskating- rollerskating is more for the novice rider learning control and balance, while rollerblading is for the more advanced rider, allowing for greater speed and better maneuverability. A 140-lb person can burn 210 calories rollerblading for 30 minutes.
- Jumping rope- jump fast, jump slow, jump high, jump low, skip, hop, jump backwards, skip backwards and combine them all. A 140-lb person jumping rope at a moderate speed for 15 minutes can burn up to 165 calories. It may take some practice to master the coordination and stamina though.
- Walking- whether it's a slow or brisk walk, it will get your legs moving, your heart going and your balance and coordination enhanced. However, it's harder to get your heart rate up with a walk since it's low impact. But if you work hard at it, a 145-lb person can burn about 180 calories in 30 minutes.
No matter which exercises you choose to do, remember to vary it and not to do the same thing in the same way each time. And don't forget to get clearance from you health care provider before starting any physical activity. Enjoy the outdoors!