Stay Fit This Summer: Outdoor Cardio

It’s time for good weather and increased outdoor activities! It’s also a time when everyone wants to shed the winter coat and look good in their summer clothes.  In this two-part series, we are going to talk about different outdoor fitness activities and how to safely progress. We’ll start this article with outdoor cardiovascular activities and their benefits.

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things that you can do for your health!  It has been shown to decrease weight, increase vitality and self-esteem, increase bone and muscle strength, improve overall ability to perform daily activities, and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, type II diabetes, and fall risk.  The Center for Disease Control recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, i.e. brisk walking every week and muscle-strengthening two or more days a week; or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobics, IE jogging or running. Moderate intensity aerobics would be considered some activity that causes your heart to beat faster, breathe harder, and break a sweat.   Your fitness level will determine your starting point.  As with all exercise programs be sure you consult with your physician before beginning.   Below is a sample walking routine for beginners.

Monday: brisk walk 10 minutes

Tuesday: brisk walk 10 minutes

Wednesday: brisk walk 10 minutes, weight training

Thursday: brisk walk 10 minutes

Friday: brisk walk 10 minutes

Saturday: brisk walk 10 minutes, weightlifting

Sunday: Day of Rest!

You can progress this program each week by increasing your walking time by 3 to 5 minutes. This is a safe and progressive way of building your aerobic activity to 30 minutes and beyond. You will minimize your risk for overuse injuries that can occur when people start too quickly. Certainly, there are many other forms of enjoyable aerobic activities including hiking, jumping rope, biking, swimming and running, but by far the easiest and most popular of these is taking a walk on the neighborhood streets, track or trail.  Good luck and good health!

In our next article, we’ll talk about safe outdoor strength training activities that include bodyweight exercises and Kettlebells.

Stay tuned!


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