We all get Spring Fever after a long winter. Nothing seems as wonderful as a bright blue sky, fresh air and the warmth of the sun against your skin. But, if you’ve been training indoors during a cold winter, you need to transition back to outdoor workouts.
Here are a few tips:
1. Gradually increase time training outdoors. For example, if you’ve been running 3 to 5 miles on an indoor treadmill, that is actually much easier than the same distance outdoors. Wind, terrain, and climate affect your pace and exertion. Less is more outdoors, so give yourself a break for about two weeks until your body adjusts. Be sure to drink plenty of water.
2. Note surface changes and impact. If you’re running or power walking on hard pavement outside, note that this is higher impact than on a treadmill. Look for dirt trails, running tracks or other softer terrain (like wood chips) when possible for less impact.
3. Wear appropriate workout apparel. Spring is a great time to invest in new trainers, especially if you need more shock absorbency for workouts on asphalt. Check out the latest hi-tech fitness clothing for comfort and wicking fabrics. Buy some bright colors to match your happy mood.
4. Remember sun and wind protection. Dealing with outside elements means you need sunscreen and/or SPF rated clothing and you may want a hat, visor and good sunglasses. And, if wind is an issue, wear extra skin lotion both before and afterwards.
5. Take advantage of new cross-training opportunities. The outdoors offers many options particularly in the spring from hiking, rafting, kayaking and trail running to cross-training in your own neighborhood. Use the change in weather to motivate you to try some new activities and challenge new muscles.
Most of all, listen to your body as a gauge to your exertion, moderately increase your intensity, and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
The video below explains what "green exercise" is and the benefits of outdoor "green exercise" - what scientific research tells us about how exercising outdoors is good for mood, mental health, brain fitness, and physical fitness. One of my favorites is "forest bathing". Green exercise can increase mindfulness, reduce blood pressure and improve sleep quality.
Keep in mind that 'green exercise' or training outdoors provides numerous benefits that go beyond simply physical exercise. Studies show that for an equivalent amount of treadmill training, if you train outdoors, you will have more energy, feel less tired and be able to train longer, than if you train indoors. Many more benefits come from exposure to the beauty of nature.