6 Great Ways to Get Fit Outdoors
Experts share their favorite ways to shape up and have fun outside.
When you're getting started, you want a softer seat but not one that is too wide, or you won't be able to get behind it, Laffey tells WebMD. If you're a woman, try a women's racing saddle. It will be more comfortable but may take some time to get used to.
If your gym offers indoor cycling classes, they can help you prepare for biking outdoors.
It's also a good idea to learn basic bike repair, Laffey says.
Equipment: You need a bike, a helmet, and gloves with a little palm padding, which will absorb vibration and cushion your hands in a spill.
Pros: Biking is fun, can be used as transportation, and works different muscles than walking or running.
Cons: Equipment can be expensive. Cycling isn't weight-bearing exercise (the type that helps build healthy bones), so you'll need to couple it with strength training or another form of weight-bearing activity for optimum fitness.
Swimming is a wonderful cardiovascular conditioner that also helps tones arms and legs, and it's very easy on the joints, says Stuhr.
In fact, it's perfect for people who have muscle or joint problems. The weightlessness of the water helps them exercise pain-free.
Swimming will increase your stamina, can help ward off diabetes and high blood pressure, and relieves stress, Stuhr tells WebMD.
Equipment: A swimsuit and maybe goggles.
Pros: Most people already know how to swim; it's fun, refreshing, and forgiving of excess weight or physical disabilities.
Cons: Not everyone has easy access to pools, lakes, or the ocean. Swimming is not weight bearing, so you should pair it with other activities such as walking or lifting weights.
Hiking uses a lot of up-and-down movement, so you get a tremendous leg workout along with the cardiovascular benefits.
Not only that, but hiking provides a relaxing atmosphere for a workout that doesn't seem like a workout at all. Listening to the birds and a babbling brook, and enjoying the cool breeze of the forest, provides a break from daily stresses, says Sheri McGregor, author of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: San Diego.