Thursday, July 14, 2011

Burn Those Cardio Calories Outdoors!

Does doing the same cardio routine at the gym make you feel like a hamster on a wheel? If so, why not go outside and get a change of scenery? Exercising outdoors can be a hit-or-miss proposition depending on where you live and the season, but when the weather is decent, there should be nothing stopping you. Take advantage of summertime to enjoy the fresh air! Here are some great alfresco cardio options to get you out of the gym.

Hiking: This is an awesome workout that I happen to love. It allows you to spend time in nature and discover your surroundings. Also, because of irregular terrain, you'll work your core muscles more than you would on a treadmill.

Running: Getting off the treadmill and running outside might help you burn even more calories. Try performing intervals by running or jogging in quarter-mile bursts. You can also work different muscles in your legs by doing intervals in which you run backward.

Swimming: Cool off, tone muscles, and get your cardio in. If you're just beginning to exercise, the pool is a great place to get started. Water provides more resistance than air, so it can make your muscles expend more energy than they would on land. Use a kickboard if you have one: Hold on to the board and use your legs to power you across the pool. Run or walk across the pool, tread water, or hold on to the side of the pool and just do kick drills for as long as you can.

Biking: Why not ride your bike to work instead of driving? You can commute and burn calories (not to mention save gas money)! Biking is an excellent means of exploring and a good calorie burner. It can be a great option if you're dealing with an injury, because it's low impact, causing less strain. But remember, a road bike is a totally different animal from a stationary or recumbent bike, so take it nice and slow at first until you get used to being on the open road.

Don't forget your everyday sports either — basketball, soccer, and the like are fun activities that allow you to get together with friends, get a cardio workout in, and enjoy the great outdoors