Spring has finally arrived and that means it’s time to get out and enjoy the gradually warming weather and take in the fresh air that’s been missing during winter. As some of you have probably been stuck on the treadmill for the past few months indoors, it’s a nice change of pace having some options to get out in the elements and get that spring break and summer beach body going in the right direction!
There are quite a few of underrated and often forgotten ways to get cardio done outside and none of them require a machine that is tethered to a cord. You can always interchange them or pick different ones each day to keep it fresh. So, without further ado, here are 7 great ways for getting moving outside for a new twist on your cardio.
1. Running Bleachers
Whether you are running up the steps in Philadelphia, Rocky-Style or tackling the endless stairs at your local public sports stadium, running stairs is the original stair stepper. Bleachers work as well in a pinch and either way, you’ll be blasting your glutes and quads while torching calories. You can vary it by sprinting up some sections and jogging others or mix in running on flat ground in between flights if space allows.
2. Uphill Running
Just like back in your school days, a great way to make running tougher is to pick a hill. To state the obvious, a steeper hill will be harder to run up and increase the intensity. Sprint up, jog or walk down and voila, you have built in interval training.
A great way to get pool ready for summer. Swimming is one of the most overlooked cardio tools there is. Sure, everyone thinks of the pool as a fun place for splashing around and cooling off, but swimming can be one of the most challenging aerobic activities there is. From intervals, to steady state swimming, this is one of the most versatile methods for cardio. Feel free to do them in a refreshing, clean lake, or a public pool. As a bonus, swimming is low impact for those looking to take it easy on their joints.
4. Beach Run
Another under the radar way of getting in some intense cardio, is running on the beach due to the uneven sand. Since it isn’t a stable surface, your body has to work harder to stabilize itself, therefore working the muscles to a greater degree. Do make sure to pick an area free of rocks and shells along with other elements that can cause injury and start gradually as it will be drastically different than running on a solid, flat surface.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a place to get off the grid and go hiking near you, hiking is yet another great way of getting in some outdoor cardio. It is lower intensity than uphill running and even though it may not feel as intense, it still burns a ton of calories. You can make it more challenging by selecting steeper hills or by rucking it.
6. Canoeing and Rowing
This one is especially popular with those who are fond of using the row machine at the gym. Now, instead of rowing in place, you can put all that training to good use and have an adventure on your own outside. Not only is it a challenging upper body workout, but it can be a great way to give your legs a break from their traditional call to action for intense cardio.
Finally, you should give some love to the old childhood favorite, cycling. From pedaling at ‘sprint’ intervals to going for a long distance ride, biking is a great way of burning some calories and getting your heart rate up.
Remember, just because you hear the word ‘cardio’, it doesn’t mean plodding away on an endless treadmill session. Get the benefits of improved body composition, heart health and overall conditioning from the great outdoors. You’ll be enjoying the sunshine and leave the boredom on that dreaded treadmill.