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Take It Outside

Eight ways to maximize your outdoor workout.



©Squaredpixels/istockphoto

After the winter we had around here, who wouldn’t be tempted to ditch the gym? And fitness experts actually want their clients to head outside right now. “People need to get the cobwebs out of their routines. This winter made a lot of my clients sluggish,” says Rore Middleton, founder of Fairfield-based Evolution Personal Training.

Besides, there’s a body-sculpting benefit to connecting with Mother Earth. “The inconsistencies [in the ground, or on the beach or trail] will challenge your stabilizer muscles, will help improve your overall stability and, with proper form, work your core,” says Jamal Smith, fitness instructor at Equinox in Greenwich.

So whether you’re planning a lunch crunch or an evening session, here are some expert tips for making that next outdoor walk, run or bike ride your best workout yet.

Here are some helpful tips:

Be Flexible

A fifteen-minute pre-workout yoga set—holding poses briefly and quickly transitioning through—stretches muscles and also warms the body for what’s coming next, says Smith.

Think Intervals

Transform your outdoor cardio routine simply by adding strength-training moves such as squats or lunges and planks every thirty seconds or so, says Middleton.  Or add sprints series at the end of your usual run, suggests Julie Gabay of Stamford’s Pacific Swim, Bike and Run.

Go for Personal Bests

Strive to cover your bike route in increasingly shorter durations, says Gabay. Once you’ve improved your time trials, add more distance. Then focus on time again. This approach works for walking and running too.

Pack on Pounds

Running with a weighted vest or walking with handheld weights “really fires up your engine,” says Middleton.

Stay on Track

“Wear a heart-rate monitor (make sure it counts calories too) to keep from getting lackadaisical,” suggests Equinox instructor Giovanni Roselli.

Hyper-Hydrate with H2O

Ditch those sugary sports drinks. Instead, pop a sugar-free electrolyte tablet into your water bottle, suggests Gabay.

Have a BackUp Plan

In case heat waves or rain derail your plans, have another option, suggests Equinox’s Harry Otto. “Running up and down a flight of stairs thirty times is an amazing substitute for your
morning run.”

Exercise Common Sense
Wear sunscreen, keep your earphones at a sensible volume and keep your eyes peeled for road hazards that could trip you up. 

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