Spring is a time when nature shakes off its dull winter coat and adorns itself in delicate, lush beauty. Days start to become longer and the sunshine makes more regular appearances. This often prompts us to make changes in our lives: we clean and reorganize, wear colorful clothes, adopt a more positive outlook on life.
Spring is also a great time to get outside and make some changes in our exercise regimen as well.
Spring into Action
Whether your exercise regimen involves walking or aerobic activity, yoga or weightlifting, the outdoors is a great place to get in shape. If you live near water, you have even more options as spring is a great time to dust off your stand up paddle board or kayak and mix up your routine a bit.
In the spring, gyms start filling up with people suddenly realizing beach season is around the corner and want to get in swimsuit shape. Ditch the crowds and take your workout to the streets. Running, cycling and jumping rope are all great for cardio lovers and you can take your mobile device outside and have your own zumba, yoga or dance class right in your own backyard.
You can also create your own outdoor gym/obstacle course using what nature provides or what is already in most backyards. Sturdy branches make a great place to do pull ups, heavy rocks and logs are excellent fodder for weight lifting and you can use a stump to do push-ups, climbers, hops or step ups on.
Gardening is another great way to mix up your exercise routine, as pulling weeds, digging and even watering the plants are all great ways to build upper body strength. If you prefer more social activities, you can invite some friends over for some outdoor fun like volleyball, football or even a good old-fashioned game of kick-the-can!
Dress for Spring
Moving your workout outdoors will require a different wardrobe than working out indoors. Footwear should be appropriate for the weather, the surface you are exercising on and the type of activity you’re doing. It’s also important to wear layers, since weather can start out cool but you may quickly overheat as your metabolism kicks into gear and your body heat rises. Ditch your cotton shirts and choose more breathable materials.
This is also a good time to celebrate spring by choosing brighter colors – not to mention it will help you be noticed more easily when running or walking. Warm colors like red, yellow and orange also have an effect on mood and can make you feel more energetic and more likely to get in a good workout. Red in particular has an intensifying effect in sporting and other activities.
Black, on the other hand, is a color to be avoided for outdoor activities. Black actually absorbs sunlight and can make it easier to burn. If your skin is sensitive, be sure and use a good sunscreen even if the sun doesn’t seem all that strong.
Spring-Clean Your Pre and Post-Workout Meals
Spring is also a great time to mix up your diet as well by mixing in seasonal fruits and vegetables to your pre and post-workout meals. The weather actually helps our waistline a great deal as we don’t crave carbohydrates or rich, heavy foods like we do in winter when the weather is cold. Spinach makes a great base for salad since it’s an excellent source of iron and is great for providing energy.
Don’t forget to boost your water intake as well. For every 15 minutes of exercise, you should drink 4-6 ounces of water. Even the portion of your body weight that you sweat away can make your heart beat faster, which can cause you to feel weak and tired and sabotage your workout.
Adapt Your Exercises to Your Mood
Just like the weather fluctuates in spring, so can our moods. Spring can still bring some dreary days and can sometimes cause us to feel fatigued. The fatigue appears in spring as a result of the changing weather and longer days, which require us to use more energy. Those changes act as a stressor and one of the best ways to reduce stress is exercising.
However, if the weather changes also cause you dizziness and headaches, it’s perfectly okay to lower the bar. Do some strength exercises while sitting down or go for a walk. The important thing is to stick to the discipline of getting in some exercise without pushing yourself too hard.
Work in Your Spring Fever to Your Workout
Hormones are another aspect of spring that can have a powerful effect on your workouts. What’s sometimes known as “spring fever” is really just seasonal hormonal changes. Where some days you can feel excessively fatigued, other days you can feel bursting with energy.
Just like the days when you feel fatigued and tired, you can match your workouts to high energy days as well. These are great days to put on some high octane music, pump up the volume and pound the pavement hard or dance like your life depends on it!
Spring is a great time to kick fitness into high gear as your energy levels rise and your craving for rich, fatty or high carbohydrate foods diminishes. Take advantage of all of these changes by mixing up your exercise routine. There is such a wide variety of ways to exercise outdoors, why not really mix it up and try something totally new!