I love gyms of all shapes and sizes. From home set-ups in the garage with nothing more than a mat and pair of dumbbells, to giant state-of-the-art athletic facilities, all gyms are places we go to improve ourselves. It’s always inspiring to be around people who have committed to feeling better and getting stronger. It’s also great to be able to draw upon the wisdom of trainers and workout buddies, who show us how to get the most out of every exercise. But the gym should only be one part of a total lifestyle commitment to fitness, balanced with everything else you do once you shut the locker and leave the building.
One of the most powerful things you can do to improve your health and shape your physique is to exercise outdoors. This makes sense, right? Mankind didn’t invent the gym all that long ago. Before that, we attained strength, agility, stamina, and flexibility through daily life spent in nature. Whether working or playing, running or swimming, hunting or climbing, our ancestors engaged with the natural world because they had to, and because it felt good. The side effect? Bodies that were sculpted into prime fitness. There’s nothing better you can do for your mind, body, and spirit than treat it to an outdoor workout.
Unlike the smooth ride of a treadmill, nature always throws some obstacles in your path. Uneven trails, wind and rain, rocks to clamber over, and waves to surf… the natural variation in any outdoor “course” will present you with constant dynamic challenges. Guess what – not only is your body capable of handling the unpredictable conditions of the natural world, in fact it thrives out there.
What are the best outdoor workouts to add to your regimen? There are practically unlimited options for challenging athletics right outside your door. Of course, the specifics of your neighborhood will dictate which sports are within walking distance. Even if you live in a big city, chances are there’s a public park within a few miles. Go for a jog. Find a dirt trail and set out on a hike. Look for a public basketball or tennis court and jump into a game. How about a swim? Not everyone lives near the ocean, but most of us live near a public pool.
Sunlight is a powerful anti-depressant. But don’t let today’s weather stop you. Too hot? Wear some shorts. Too cold? Bundle up, start running and you’ll be warm in no time. You were built for this. Outdoor workouts train you to maximize your human potential, and are the perfect complement to the strength and endurance training you’re doing in the gym.
Now here’s the most important part. Just because you’re out of the gym doesn’t mean you have to shortchange your workout. You can run, jump, and play just as hard, IF you know how to challenge yourself. Personally, as long as I know I’ve got the right music and my O2 Trainer, I can create a killer workout anywhere, anytime. There is no easier way to turn a stroll through the park into a world class workout than with the O2. It’s like having a portable gym right in your pocket!
The O2 Trainer challenges me to train like a pro. In tests, this amazing training aid was shown to increase the volume of air athletes could ventilate, and even increased the ventilatory muscles themselves. That’s really going to come in handy with all that fresh air! So, step outside and make the commitment to get a gym-level workout, wherever your day takes you