Our latest post comes from the wonderful and talented Samantha Olivier from Ripped.me. We’re delighted to have Samantha featured on the site again and know you’ll enjoy her latest piece.
Aerobic activity is essential for the health of the body and mind. Take the example of cardio, which improves your mood, reduces body fat and cholesterol levels, and enhances heart and lung functions. People seem to lose sight of these benefits or downplay their importance. Even those who are active are unable to distinguish between what really does the trick and all the modern gimmicks and fads. Well, if you ask me, it is time to get back to the good old basics. The great outdoors awaits.
Get the show on the road
A sedentary lifestyle is the bane of good health. People spend insane amounts of time bent over, with their eyes glued to screens. Considering their bad habits, it is surprising how creative they are when it comes to figuring out excuses. The truth is, though, that a cardio workout does not have to be time-consuming or back-breaking. It can even be performed outside the gym, under the eternal blue sky.
Indeed, as summer rolls out, we are tempted to take our cardio outdoors. And once you get out of your home prison and become active, you start to exercise even without realizing it. People who ditch cars and embrace bikes soon find that this option is money-saving and health-boosting. The possibilities are endless: yoga, parkour, canoeing, snowshoeing, swimming, water skiing, rollerblading, paddling, ice skating, etc.
It goes without saying that you should feel free to do whatever floats your boat. In case you find running boring, you can always hop on a bike. Or, if you prefer four wheels, visit a well-stocked skate shop. Think about something you have always wanted to try, but have been putting off for more than you can remember. It is high time to feel your heart pumping and energy rushing through your body.
Walk the talk
You can do the workout alone, with a friend, or even a dog. What is more, it is possible to perform it almost anywhere. Running on a treadmill is fine, but it does not allow you to reap the amazing benefits of outdoor exercise. There is nothing like sunlight and fresh air to rejuvenate the body and soothe your soul. It is incredible how a change of scenery affects our fitness performance and health in general.
Hiking is easily one my favorite activities. It took me on numerous adventures, exploring breathtaking scenery and bonding with friends. And rest assured that walking over various elevations and difficult terrain recruits your muscles. I also gave rock climbing a try, and boy, was it exacting. This undertaking is one of the best exercises for your arms, back, and forearms and nothing compares to the feeling of reaching the top.
Of course, many people simply put on their shoes and hit the pavement. It makes sense to explore the urban jungle you live in or escape it for the sake of uplifting nature and greenery. Besides, there are many variations and twists you can put on the basic theme: walk fast, then jog fast, and finally sprint. Others opt for routines such as sprints & squats workouts. You can read a full article here about some of the better shoes for your exercise regimen.
To add some spice, try to break up a one-mile run with bodyweight exercises. For instance, you can go for the following circuit: 15 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 dips, and a 45-second plank. Do the running intervals of ¼ mile in between the exercises. This type of workout challenges not only your heart, but your lungs and muscle fibers as well. Of course, you should not forget to warm up with 10 minutes of easy running.
For a bit more explosive cardio, try a 21-minute workout with a lot of jumping. The circuit consists of burpees, mountain climbers, forearm side planks (circuit A), lunges, jumping lunges, squats, and jump squats (circuit B), 60 seconds each. Typically, you complete the circuit three times and rest for 60 seconds. Those who want to step up can do each movement for 90 seconds.
Just bear in mind that you cannot outrun your fork, so pay close attention to your nutrition. No amount of exercise can make up for a diet full of processed and junk food. And whatever you decide to do, try to enjoy it. An exercise does not have to be tedious and make you feel miserable, not if you focus on yourself and do it right.
On the ball
Being active is the cornerstone of living a long and healthy life. And there is no better way to come into fitness than to engage in outdoor cardio. The beauty of it is that these exercises can be performed virtually anywhere, at any time, and by people of all fitness levels. Every decision counts and all your choices add up. Pick a few exercises that you like and do them on a regular basis and intensely enough. The ball is in your court, so get it rolling sooner rather than later.