Spending time outdoors offers a slew of benefits for both adult and children who love adventures. For example, basking in the warmth of the sun when running in the early mornings stimulates your skin to produce Vitamin D that helps with your bone development.
Time spent outdoors not only keeps your body fit and in shape but it also boosts your immune system, which allows your body to fight off infections more effectively. Other studies have shown that outdoor fitness routines revitalize the body and provide energy better than going to a gym or doing physical activities indoors.
Working Out Outdoors
You don’t need to bring the entire gym with you in order work out outdoors. Without a treadmill, you can do your cardio exercises by running, jogging, or cycling. You can even bring your pet or friends with you to make the activity more exciting. Doing outdoor group yoga or Zumba is also a good way to stay fit while having fun at the same time.
Strength training can be executed by using weights and workout bands. Workout (resistance) bands are suitable for individuals of all fitness levels and can be effective in increasing your strength and flexibility. They’re also portable, making them perfect for outdoor workouts.
Outdoor fitness routines, however, have their own setbacks. If you’re the adventurous type who loves biking, hiking, fishing, golfing, and various water activities, don’t forget about these potential hazards.
Guard Against Dehydration
Outdoor adventurers can be prone to dehydration, especially if they spend long hours outside and don’t drink enough water. The condition generally results from excessive water loss but being dehydrated can also include losing electrolytes like potassium and sodium in your system.
- You’ll start feeling the effects of dehydration when you:
Feel more thirsty
Have dryness in the mouth
Become tired and lethargic
Urinate at low volume
Notice that your urine is getting darker
Develop a headache
Dehydration also happens even when the weather is cooler, such as when you’re in the ski slopes. To prevent dehydration, you must always be mindful of a few things.
Pack water and a salty snack. Always carry a water bottle with you if you’re doing outdoor fitness activities. If you, however, are the type who sweat a lot, then it might be necessary to pack a salty snack or electrolyte-filled sports drink. Sometimes, drinking water is not enough to replenish the nutrients you lose due to dehydration.
Avoid caffeine or alcohol. Going on a long hike or a bike ride? Drinking coffee or alcohol hours before you set foot outdoors will force you to urinate often, so it’s better to skip these drinks. Caffeine and alcohol are also diuretics that deplete your body of sodium.
Protect Your Skin
Regardless if it’s summer or winter, wearing sunscreen should be mandatory if you’re an outdoor enthusiast. Choose a product with a sun protective factor (SPF) between 30 and 50 and re-apply liberally for maximum coverage. Wearing sunscreen doesn’t mean your skin won’t burn or tan, however, so you must also take other precautions.
Schedule smarter. If possible, don’t schedule any outdoor activities between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. These are the times when the sun is hottest, so it might be best to do your exercises early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Wear protective clothing. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and sweatpants if you’re planning to stay longer outdoors for extra skin protection from the sun and insect bites. If it’s the summer, choose light-colored fabrics that will repel the sun’s heat. If you’re going up the mountains, pack gloves, a fleece hat, and a scarf in case the weather becomes cooler during the hours you’re outside.
Protect Your Lungs
Depending on where you are, doing exercises outdoors may put your lungs at risk due to air pollution. You’ll need to pick a good location where to exercise, such as a public park, since there are enough trees and fewer obstructions that allow proper air flow.
Aside from checking the weather forecast before you head out, also look at the air quality index in your location. Also note that air pollution tends to be higher when the sun is at its hottest, while the air becomes less polluted after a rain.
If necessary, consider wearing a mask if you have to bike through busy roads to get to your ideal outdoor spot.
You’ll need to keep your body prepared if you enjoy doing outdoor activities. As with any sports, warming up and stretching before doing the main exercise may help prevent muscle and joint injuries.