Work It Out: Spring exercise in the sun with kettlebells, weight vests and more
April 15, 2016
Warmer weather is on the rise, and that means that more people are heading outside to get the exercise they want.
When you work out in the open air, your body will work two to three times harder than it normally does when working out inside. Direct sunlight is also a benefit. It helps your body process the necessary vitamins it needs to make the body function and revitalizes the immune system by activating vitamins that can only be activated by the sun, like vitamin D. It also helps your body process more minerals than before, making your bones stronger and keeping your joints from deteriorating during your workout.
Not only is it physiologically beneficial to workout outdoors — it's also a massive psychological boost. While you work out, your brain dumps more psychological stress than it would when working out inside. This keeps you mentally happier and healthier.
Diet, diet, diet
When you work out outdoors, your body will sweat more than you can possibly tell because it is constantly evaporating. Only a small amount stays in your clothing, so it is highly recommended to drink anywhere from a half-gallon to a full gallon of water in a day.
Not only do you need to drink a lot of fluids to keep your body fueled for a summer workout, but you also need to maintain a proper diet. If you are focusing primarily on a cardio-style workout, then you need to have a diet heavy on carbohydrates. If you want to become more muscularly fit, then you need to primarily eat more proteins and vegetables to become properly fueled.
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Sometimes, your body cannot process enough of the nutrients from the foods you are eating, so it is necessary to take supplements, such as multivitamins, creatine and protein supplements. With the proper diet, you can fully see the results you want from your workout of choice.
Exercise for better health
When you exercise outdoors, you have a great opportunity to experience a lot of different workouts and a lot of different intensities with these workouts.
The easiest workouts to perform are body-weight exercises, which rely on just your body for a workout, with very little outside equipment. These can be beneficial for your musculoskeletal system, as it will increase balance and coordination, as well as functional mobility.
Body-weight movements are also a good workout to perform when you do not have access to large equipment. These exercises include movements like burpees, push-ups, air squats and plyometric-based training.
If you have access to weights like dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells and weighted or resistance exercise equipment, take them outside. Taking weighted exercises outdoors will create more muscle fibers and increase the strength of your joints.
Some of these exercises can include (but are not limited to) kettlebell swings, squat presses and Russian twists.
Beyond the dumbells
As a personal trainer, I recommend weighted exercise equipment or resistance equipment because it is easier to transport. Equipment like weighted vests are a great way to improve your cardiovascular system and increase the strength of your heart muscles, which improves blood flow across the body. Vests are perfect companions for running, walking or even taking the stairs, as well as body-weight exercises.
Resistance bands are another good option. They help create stronger muscle fibers, as well as increase functionality across all of your joints.
Working out in the sunshine is a unique and fun experience because things change daily, from the weather to the environment. Flowers might still be budding one day and fully bloomed the next, so each and every day is a unique experience — and one that you cannot miss out on.
Trent Johnson is a personal trainer certified through the National Association of Fitness Certifications. As a trainer and runner, he has years of experience training people of all abilities, from high-level athletes to Average Joes who just want to find better fitness.
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