5 Reasons to Take Your Exercise Routine Outdoors

beach 2Sick of the gym and the same exercise routine you’ve been doing all winter? Spring is here, and summer is finally right around the corner. As the weather continues to warm up and sun stays out longer, now is the perfect time to take your exercise routine outdoors!

We all love the newness and a fresh start with the change in the seasons including a change in your workout and exercise routine. Take out the staleness, monotony, and amp it up with some new inspiration.

Here’s 5 reasons to take your workout outside.

  1. Brave the Elements:

The elements of your environment can increase the intensity of your workout, take in your atmosphere and add some obstacles like wind, snow, and heat to give you a challenge.  Bike during a heavy rain or paddle board when the winds are high and the water is choppy. Got a humid day? Run in the afternoon when the temperatures are even hotter. Why not try swimming laps in the ocean with a big swell!

  1. Vitamin D and Fresh Air:

After being stuck inside all winter, a little Vitamin D, sunshine, and fresh air can always do everyone some good.  Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and muscles and it can also help reduce illnesses and infections. Think about how much better you feel when you step outside on a warm sunny morning? We tend to have better moods and improved well-being, more energy and motivation, and feel a lot better about ourselves and our body image.

  1. Challenge Yourself:

Take it to the extremes, change it up, skip the same boring exercise routine. Challenge yourself! Live near the mountains? Use them for intensity, altitude, and temperature changes. Live near the beach? Use the sand, sun, and surf to up your game. Grab a friend for a little competition and extra push, race the clock or decrease your resting time. Give yourself a deadline, visualize your goals, extend the finish line, even changing your mindset can add more challenges to your work outs.

  1. Skip the Germs:

Getting outside for your workout can greatly reduce the exposure to all the germs that you’ve been befriending in the gym all winter. Think about all those coughing, sneezing, sweating people you’ve been sharing treadmills, mats, and equipment with for all those dark, cold months. Trade up for the fresh air, sunshine, and a lot less people in a confined space. Getting outside more can help you avoid everything from the stomach bug to ringworm and from Staph infections to Ecoli. (Ewww!)

  1. Try Something New:

Step out of your comfort zone and try something new! Look for something you wouldn’t normally do for exercise. Grab your tutu and sign up for a color run, meditate ocean side, go old school and dust of the old roller skates or rollerblades, or sign up for those group surf lessons you’ve been dying to try. Take a Pilates class on the beach or boot camp in a park. Go the sports route and jump into a basketball or volleyball game. Want to go more extreme? Try kite surfing or rock climbing, or how about checking out the new trapeze workouts.

So skip the gym and the germs, and hit the streets, beach, or mountains for some extra challenges and soak up some sunshine and fresh air. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new this season, you may possibly find the exercise can’t live with out.

 

 

 

 

Skip the Gym!! And Try These New Exercises Instead!

It’s Gym Season Again! Everyone rushes to the gym from Jan 2-Feb 13 and then everyone disappears until the first really warm day and thoughts of bikini season right corner. I don’t know about you, but I hate going to the gym when every treadmill is full, the free weight room is loaded with a bunch of sweaty, groaning guys staring at you through the mirror, and they’re on all the nautilus equipment too! And if you want to do any ab work or planking on a mat? Forget about finding space for that too! So why not skip the gym? Instead of fighting for the sweaty incline bench for a couple of chest press reps and tricep extensions, check out these new exercises.

Aerial Yoga:

Aerial yoga is an incredible way to exercise. It uses a circus hammock as a tool to photo credit: www.farmfoodieandfitness.comhelp students achieve the traditional Yoga positions. The weight of the body is either partially or fully supported by the hammock. It is challenging! It allows the student to push themselves a little further, getting deeper into their positions, stretches, and extensions without the force of gravity. Aerial Yoga concentrates on deep breathing and letting go of stress, and reinforces a sense of calm, serenity, and focus.

Tabata:
“Tabata” is a type of workout program that provides similar health benefits to that of cardio workouts, but Tabata is a little more unique. Instead of hours upon hours or exercise, it can be completed in 4 to 30 minutes. Tabata falls under the category of high intensity training or “HIIT”. The mindset is to have these short, intense workouts to improve athleticism and fat burning, cardio vascular health, and boost metabolism.  It was invented by Japansese scientist Izumi Tabata and originally designed for Olympic speed skaters.

Ballet Barre:

Who doesn’t want the body of a dancer? Up your workout with this hour-long high photo credit: www.pilatespluspb.comintensity class to tone your entire body. Ballet barre will tone up your tush, flatten your belly, and give you the legs of a dancer. Work muscles you never knew you had! Regain balance and coordination and strengthen your core. Booty barre classes are taking the country by storm. Find a studio near you, you won’t regret it!

So get out there, change it up. and skip the gym. Challenge your body to work a little differently and harder and you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time!

The Best Regimen For College Fitness

This is perfect for all you young ones headed to college in the next few weeks!! Such an exciting time in life to be headed off to college. I remember leaving for Clemson like it was yesterday! I could not wait to get out of my hometown and get as far south as my big feet could carry me. As healthy as I have always been, believe me once I stepped foot on that southern campus- I was in freshman hog heaven! Late night pizza runs, Chic-fil-A, (this was way before they were up north!) heavy dinners in the cafeteria, Clemson football tailgates, lake parties, you name it I was eating and sure enough, I put on the freshmen 15 in 6 months!

And exercise? As active as I was I barely made it to the gym most weeks because it was too easy to get caught up in all the fun. So when I was asked if I would allow a guest post for all those new freshman and young adults headed back to college to help them live a healthier lifestyle I jumped at the opportunity and remembered the fun and carefree days I had not too long ago 😉 So all you crazy college kids headed back to school or starting off somewhere new this year, enjoy your time away and growing stronger and wiser. And to all those parents sending away their babies and worried that they’ll take care of themselves, here’s a little guide to help you stay healthy and live your life to the fullest.

Guest post attributed to The Best Colleges. Make sure to check out their site too!

The Best Regimen for College Fitness

Core Strength

DSC_8674“Core Strength” is the hottest thing around and everyone wants it! Why wouldn’t you? If you have it, it means you have strong protective belly and lower back muscles and it usually means you got a flat, defined tummy. So…everyone wants core strength, and Pilates is the best way to gain it.

Core strength, what is it and why do we need it? The core is the deep, protective muscles of the abdominals, mid and lower back. This is where your body’s power, control, and balance comes from when doing any movement including walking, standing, sitting, or exercising. Core strength reduces our risk of pain and injuries, helps women with delivering babies, and it corrects your posture and alignment. Most people who complain of low back, find it’s the result of weak core muscles. Once their core is strong, back pain usually dissipates.

So, how do you get it? By engaging the muscle to develop and make them stronger. The best way to build core strength is to lie on the floor, with your arms by your side and your knees bent, then find neutral pelvis. (neutral pelvis can be found by letting your spine fall into the floor naturally. Now “push” your pelvis away from you slightly so you have a small space between your lower back and floor. It should feel like your balancing on the two “knotty” bones of your hips.) Next you want to engage your muscles.

First think of sinking your belly button to your spine and keep squeezing, but don’t hold your breath, continue to breathe naturally. Now you want to engage your pelvic floor or transverse abdominis. You do this by “Kegeling” or think of it as stopping the flow of urine. You should feel like your holding your bladder and sucking in your belly. 🙂 Ladies think of lying on your bed zipping up a pair of jeans that don’t fit. (We all know we’ve had to do this before!) Do 8-10 reps and hold them for 5-8 seconds to start. Try to do these twice a day as you build strength you can hold the exercise for longer or do more reps. Practice while sitting in the car at a stop light, while sitting at the computer, or while standing cooking dinner. Try to remind yourself in every task you do throughout the day and in no time you’ll have core strength!