Written by Jay Raymundo
Now that summer is just around the corner, getting healthy and active is easier to do. From outdoor bootcamps, family bike rides, hiking adventures and the numerous sporting events available, getting fit and having fun can be had by the many.
Did you know, that getting active and exercising outdoors has many benefits? Other than the fresh air, natural light, Vitamin D, and the ability to get a nice tan – here are some other reasons why you should be including the outdoors in your fitness program:
- Studies have shown that being active outdoors helps to reduce stress and reduce blood pressure.
- It aids in a more restful sleep
- As mentioned, the sunshine provides you with Vitamin D! Living in Alberta, with our long winter months, many of us do not get enough Vitamin D. Just like Superman, the sunshine also energizes our bodies.
- Save money! There are so many activities, parks, sporting events, hiking trails, bike paths that you can participate in are FREE. Minimal to NO equipment is required when doing a bodyweight exercise circuit.
- Save time! No need to go far. Many local neighborhood playgrounds already have the necessary pieces of equipment you need for a great workout! Example: Chin Ups on the monkey bars, Tricep dips on the park bench, lunges, squats, and/or push ups on the grass.
- Save the environment by not driving to the gym – enjoy nature!
- It keeps the body guessing by changing your workout routine, trying something new will prevent the body from adapting to the same old workout program.
- Socialize! With all the open space, you can workout with friends and family without being in a crowded gym. Working out in a group not only builds community, but it holds you more accountable to your fitness program.
- Happiness – this is what you get when you have more energy, you hang out with friends and feel the warmth of the sun shining down on you!
Not to be too much of a party pooper – but I did title this Article “Make Sure You're Safe This Summer.” So, for you to enjoy all these health benefits of working out and being physically active outdoors, I want you to remember these safety tips:
- Stay HYDRATED!!! Drink water throughout the day, before your workout, during your workout and after your workout. Stay away from highly caffeinated drinks as they tend to aid in dehydration.
- Make sure you also have some electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals in your body that have an electric charge. They are in your blood, urine, tissues, and other body fluids. Electrolytes are important because they help: Balance the amount of water in your body, and balance your body's acid/base (pH) level.
- Listen to your body and watch for any warning signs of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or heat cramps, such as muscle spasms, dizziness, nausea, the absence of sweat, hallucinations, flushed skin and/or confusion. If you feel unwell for any reason – STOP.
- Start your workouts or activities earl in the morning, or later in the evening when it isn’t as hot outside.
- Workout with a partner, not only for accountability but for safety as well.
- Dress for the weather by avoiding unnecessary layers, thick fabrics, and dark colors. Darker and thicker fabrics—like polyester—trap the heat and will only make your outdoor workouts miserably hot.
- Keep it light and loose to increase airflow and reduce your body’s temperature. Fill your summer workout wardrobe with light-colored, moisture-wicking fabrics—like cotton! Wearing lighter, brighter colors will also help drivers see you more easily if you’re exercising outside or along the road.
Summer in Alberta is short lived - so go out there, be safe and enjoy! Have fun, stay active, move, be healthy and get fit.