For many, spring can be a transition time for exercise. In winter, we can be forced indoors for workouts, but with spring upon us, we can start to make our way back out doors and provide a little variety to our routines. Here are a few ways to make sure that this spring gets you up on your feet and out in the heat.
Change it Up
Doing the same exercise every day unfortunately does not produce long-term progression of improved health. Do not get me wrong, you can stay in shape and maintain health benefits, but eventually we all hit a plateau unless we change it up a bit. This change can be in the form of amount of weight lifted, the sets and repetitions you are doing, or the speed or incline of which you walk/run.
For example, spring is a great time to change up your cardio routine that has been stuck indoors on the treadmill or elliptical. The same pre-planned workouts you select on your treadmill can also be done outside. Create intervals by setting a designated time to walk and jog/run. You can create any ratio you want of jog/run to walk, starting with a 1:2 minute ratio, respectively. Every few weeks change the ratio progressing to longer running intervals and shorter walking intervals. Find a park with stairs or a hill to provide an incline workout, walk down and run up either the stairs or hill starting with 10 reps. Gradually increase your time or number of reps as you are feeling more comfortable and confident. You can take the strength routine outside too by using playground equipment and body weight exercises.
Consider Spring Cleaning
Both for your wardrobe and your pantry. When it comes to our workout clothes, they have to be comfortable. If you do not like what you’re wearing to gym or don’t feel comfortable in it, you will not wear it. And, if you are not interested in wearing your workout clothes, you are also likely not working out. Moreover, as we start to transition seasons we should be selecting the appropriate clothes for the weather to maintain temperate and prevent sun damage. So, invest in new hat to run in, update that sunscreen bottle if it has expired, and pick out a great new shirt to inspire your work out.
Now for the pantry. Admit it you likely have left over Valentine’s Day sweets and other holiday treats around the house. It is time to get rid of them. Be mindful about future purchases and choices with Easter around the corner. One Cadbury egg is about 150 calories and a nice treat to enjoy one at a time, not 20 in a single sitting. You do not have to deny yourself, but you also do not have to overly satisfy a craving.
Plan a trip to the Farmers Markets and Grab a Friend
This spring, make your workout a ‘partner workout’ by setting up time with a friend to get outdoors. Sign up for a race together! Many race sign-ups allow for team sign-ups, and this is a great way to find a cause to give back to. Here in Colorado, we have a variety of race distances (anything 5k to ultra-marathons) on almost every weekend and each of them support great causes.
If you’re making plans to get together with friends, add walking into the agenda. It is easy to set up a coffee or lunch date, but why not set up that time for an early morning farmer’s market stroll. Plan to walk by every booth making your workout longer, and you can capitalize on the time and location to get some fresh produce.
We live in a great place that has a lot to offer, so make sure you get out there to experience it all.
By Kimberly Burke
Kimberly Burke is the director of the Adult Fitness Program at Colorado State University, an outreach program through the Department of Health and Exercise Science. Adult Fitness offers exercise opportunities for employees of CSU as well as community members, while providing hands-on learning experiences for health promotion students. To learn more see http://hes.chhs.colostate.edu/outreach/adultfitness
For more great health tips visit the College of Health and Human Sciences Pinterest board.