Outdoor Workouts: What you should remember while exercising outside
Updated: April 19, 2018 at 6:56 pm
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Could it be that Spring is finally going to pack a lunch and stay a while? Winter 2018 seems to be clinging on for dear life, but I think we can finally look forward to more consistently beautiful weather. That means it’s time to spend more time outside!
If you’ve never done it, I strongly suggest you give outdoor workouts a try. I don’t like them all the time, but they can really invigorate your passion in exercise. Given that you’ll be moving out of a controlled environment and into the midst of nature’s random moods, here are some considerations.
I have a list of reminders I send to my clients before their outdoor sessions. Sometimes I wonder why I bother, since nearly every time they ignore at least a few of the suggestions. I just smile and nod when they realize they’re missing something they need, and that it’s something I told them to bring. What can you do?
Alright, let’s make sure you don’t find yourself in the same boat. Remember, it’s better to have and not need, than to need and not have. It may feel like it’s a hassle to lug gear around, but I promise you’ll be glad you did when the unexpected happens.
Water. Water, water, water. Let me repeat that: water. Whether it’s cold, mild, warm or hot you need to hydrate. The whole point of exercise is that it burns calories. It ignites your metabolism, which has a whole host of health benefits. Even if you don’t sweat, you’re still using up water to process all that energy. You really must bring water. Please stop forgetting to pack it.
Sunscreen is almost as important as water. The general suggestion is to avoid being in the direct sun from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. If you do exercise outdoors at that time, look to do as much of it as possible in the shade. Regardless of the time, be sure to apply sunscreen. This is especially important on overcast days. The clouds block visible light, but they don’t filter UV rays. I forgot this recently during a stroll along the beach in Oregon on a typically cloudy day. I was wearing sunglasses, because there was still a bit of glare. I got back to the house looking like a raccoon, and then my nose and cheeks immediately began peeling. Yes, you can definitely burn on cloudy days.
Along the same lines, I highly suggest a hat with a brim and sunglasses. Your eyes need protection from UV light as much as your skin does. I was training someone outside yesterday. She didn’t have a hat or sunglasses. While she was doing supine bridges, I had to place myself strategically, so that my shadow fell across her face to shield her from the glare. Bring these items!
Towels are very helpful. Obviously they are great for sweat, but you can also use them to wipe wet or oily substances off equipment. This makes it safer to grip bars and other surfaces. You can also lieon them. All of this may seem totally elementary, but I still keep towels in my backpack. Clients often forget. Of course they forget them specifically on the days when I need them to lie back to perform a portion of the workout.
Bug repellent is something I strongly suggest, but some people are very sensitive to it. I have to wash it off as soon as I get back inside, or I can develop a rash. However, it’s worth it to minimize attacks from biting insects. Ants, mosquitoes, flies, gnats and other pests are distractions that you can easily avoid.
One last suggestion. I was caught by surprise a week ago. The weather had been gorgeous for days, and it was bright leading up to the session. I left my light jacket in the car. The weather suddenly turned windy and cold. It was pretty miserable for me, because my body fat is low enough that I sometimes need a jacket when it’s 65 degrees. As you can imagine, 58 degrees was not cool (except that it was far too cool). During the transitions out of winter into spring, and again from summer into autumn, keep a light jacket on hand just in case. They can be a lifesaver when you’re sweaty and the wind picks up.
info: Jack Kirven completed the MFA in Dance at UCLA, and earned certification as a personal trainer through NASM. His wellness philosophy is founded upon integrated lifestyles as opposed to isolated workouts. Visit him at jackkirven.com and INTEGRE8Twellness.com.
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