By: Jason Lewis
It’s Labor Day, a dedication, pretty much to ourselves, for simply going to work every day. What more reason do we need to take a day off, barbecue ribs, and enjoy the fruits of our labor?
Labor Day also signifies the end of the summer, but have no fear, the weather hasn’t changed yet as it’s still bright, sunny and warm outside. Technically, the sun doesn’t pass the celestial equator, heading southward, until Sept. 22, so we have a few weeks left of summer and a couple months before it’s time to head indoors for fitness activities. Since we still have some time to go outside and work out, here’s a list of outdoor activities to get into:
Cross Country Running
The weather is still great, so why spend your workout in a gym on a treadmill, where you’re really not running anywhere? The great outdoors is calling, and chances are that you will run farther outside than in the gym.
Create your own course, and as you get into better shape, add to it. One strategy is to estimate how far you want to run, and then run out for half of that distance or time. The only way back to your start/finish line is to run, so you can’t tap out of the workout when you get bored or tired, like you can if you’re on a treadmill or running laps on a track. If your goal is to run for 30 minutes, then run away from your start/finish line for 15 minutes, and then turn around and run back.
Each week add on to the route, and you’ll surprise yourself with how far you can run. It gives you more of a sense of accomplishment because you’re getting somewhere, while promoting a healthier heart and a trimmer waistline.
This form of running is much more scenic than staring at a television while running in place on a treadmill. And as the season transitions from summer to fall, and then into winter, you can watch the changes as you get into better shape.
As the U.S. Open is taking place, you’ll notice how much skill and grace that tennis athletes have, and you’ll also notice how they are all in great shape. That’s really the look that most people want to achieve, not the big and bulky bodybuilder look.
Chasing around that yellow ball for a long period of time strengthens the legs and midsection, as all of the movements are explosive. First-step quickness is a key, as getting from point A to point B as fast as possible is a must to get to the ball in time to set up for your return shot.
Hitting the ball takes a lot of core power because of the rotation of the torso, and the power originates from the legs.
Tennis can be played by anybody or any age, and the older you get, the better it is for you because it lowers the risk of heart disease while improving flexibility, coordination, and balance.
The swimming pools are not going to be drained for a while, giving us the opportunity to take advantage of this high-intensity but low-impact form of exercising. Swimming is one of the best workouts because it doesn’t impact the joints much, but it burns a lot of calories. When the body is submerged in waist-deep water, a person only has to manage half of their body weight. When you’re in the water up to your chest, you’re only supporting about 25 percent of their weight.
While the person is supporting a lighter load, their body is taking on more of a resistance because the water essentially pushes back, unlike thin air when working out on dry land; water is 12 times more resistance than air. Because of the added resistance, the workouts can be really intense. Just think about it…you never see an out-of-shape competitive swimmer.
Golf is not as much of a physically draining activity as other sports, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not a workout going on. The bulk of the day is spent walking the course, and folks who have issues putting the ball in the hole are going to spend a whole lot of time walking around.
Many people do not realize it, but simply walking for long periods of time is a form of exercise, and it can prevent or manage heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes. Walking burns calories, so doing it on a regular basis is much better than doing nothing.
As people get older, running gets tougher on the joints, and people who have certain injuries may find it tough to perform high-intensity workouts. Because walking is simple, just about everybody can do it. Combined with a healthy diet, walking as a form of exercise will lead to greater fitness levels and better overall health.