Getting regular exercise is critical to living a healthy life. Working out frequently can improve your muscle strength and flexibility, boost your mood, enhance your concentration, and much more. Additionally, taking your workout outside can net you even more benefits than following a traditional indoor exercise routine. Frequent exposure to fresh air and sunlight, even for just a few minutes each day, can do wonders for your physical and mental well-being and even increase your disease resistance.
If you’d like to exercise outside on the regular, however, you’ll have to plan for it carefully. After all, outdoor workouts expose you to the elements, other people, and specific environmental hazards that you wouldn’t usually have to contend with indoors. Proper preparation will enable you to maximize outdoor exercise’s benefits while protecting yourself and others from illness or injury.
Try the following tips for safer, healthier outdoor workouts:
If you’ll be exercising in especially cold or hot weather, appropriate attire is your first line of defense against the elements. Outdoor workouts in summer, for instance, call for light, breathable clothing that can disperse heat and also wick sweat and other moisture away from your body easily. In the winter, it’s best to layer your clothes so that you can remove them as your body heats up and put them back on when you feel chilled again.
It’s also essential to protect yourself from airborne diseases while outdoors. Walking, running, or cycling through populated areas may necessitate masking up if you can’t keep a comfortable distance from other people. You may want to look up where to buy antimicrobial neck loop face masks, as antimicrobial material inhibits the growth of bacteria and viruses on the fabric and can keep your mask sanitary for longer.
Lastly, wear clothing that will make it easy for other people to see you, especially if you plan on exercising in the morning or evening when the light is low. Brightly-colored or reflective clothes are good options, and it may also help to carry a flashing light with you as a signal to motorists.
Don’t Scrimp on Sun Protection
Exposure to UV radiation from the sun can be harmful, so apply sunscreen to all exposed skin before heading out. You may also want to take the bottle with you if you’re going to be out for more than a few hours or if you anticipate that you’ll be sweating a lot. Look for sweat-resistant sunscreens, as these will typically last longer before reapplying.
It’s always a good idea to wear UV-resistant clothing, hats, and visors, as these also offer sun protection. Do bear in mind, however, that they shouldn’t be used as substitutes for sunscreen.
Exercise with a Buddy
Working out with company is a great way to keep yourself accountable, and it can also be more fun than exercising alone. Moreover, having a friend or family member with you when you exercise outdoors creates a safety net in case one of you gets injured or encounters another emergency—in these cases, having someone on hand to call for help or administer first aid as necessary can be life-saving. This is especially important for activities that will take you far from populated areas like hiking and trekking.
If you go out by yourself, make sure someone trustworthy knows where you’re going, what you’ll be doing, and when you intend to return. It’s also helpful to draw up plans of action they can follow in case you don’t contact them by the agreed-upon time. The more tech-savvy may look into tracking apps that can keep your chosen buddy aware of your location while you’re out hiking, cycling, or running.
Plan Your Routine Ahead of Time
Take time to develop an outdoor workout well-suited to your current physical condition and the amount of experience you have navigating the outdoors. If you’re new to outdoor exercise, start with a short, flat, and relatively straightforward route through a familiar area. As you gain more experience, you can begin exploring more widely with the help of GPS apps or physical maps. You’ll also gradually be able to tackle different types of terrain, such as slopes and hills.
Hikers should take careful note of the marked checkpoints on their chosen trail and pay attention to the weather, the environment, and what facilities or services are nearby. If you’re running or cycling on city roads, choose wide streets with minimal high-speed traffic. Keep to well-lit areas if you plan to be out in the morning or the evening. Most importantly, pay careful attention to your surroundings on the road or a hiking trail.
Your body will lose lots of water as you sweat through your workout, so drink plenty of water before starting and carry a full water bottle with you. If you exercise on a hot summer day, you must keep drinking throughout your routine to prevent dehydration.
Taking adequate safety measures will protect you and others and make your outdoor workouts more effective and enjoyable. Preparing well for outdoor exercise puts you in the best place to tackle new challenges and push yourself toward higher fitness goals.