Introduction: Outdoor Training Options - Fitness and Exercises
*Disclaimer* - This instructional is intended only to provide general knowledge and ideas on outdoor exercises. This is not a fitness regimen, it is not a substitute for a personal trainer, and like all exercises consult your physician if you are healthy enough to perform certain exercises without risk of exacerbating any prior medical illnesses, if any. Refer to multiple sources on proper form, structuring, and application to YOUR INDIVIDUAL use.
The way I do my exercises might not work for you, but hopefully this can give you a sense of direction on your outdoor fitness goals.
Step 1: General Information
Endurance: Endurance training is used for improved cardiopulmonary endurance. The Pulmonary system (lungs) provide oxygen to heart/blood stream to deliver to rest of the body. The more endurance one has, the stronger the cardiopulmonary systems are, thus decreasing overall exertion of both systems. You are able to perform more activities without fatigue, exertion, and will have increased stamina.
Strength: Strength training is used for increased muscle size/strength potential/power. Strength training benefits the musculoskeletal systems. Having strong muscles allow you to perform certain activities such as body support, joint stability, ease with daily activities such as lifting/moving/pushing/pulling objects. The skeletal system (bones) benefit with increased need to adapt to physical load by increased bone density. Improved bone density decreases risk of fractures, and overall bone health.
Mobility: Mobility training is used for improved movement and mobility. Mobility deficits are usually caused by, but not limited to, muscle tightness. The decreased overall mobility one has the increased overall risk of injury they have as well. Furthermore, muscle tightness which restricts mobility, can lead to pains such as back pain, neck pain, hip pain, and so on. (*******Once again - consult physician regarding cause of pain if present as some exercises are contraindicated depending on cause of pain).
Assessing Maximum Heart Rate: Maximum heart rate is the highest rate at which the heart can beat before risking cardiac complications. The formula to calculate:
Maximum Heart Rate = 220 - Current Age
Example: 220 - 24 (Example Age) = 196 beats per minute
Assessing Target Heart Rate: Target heart rate is a range in which the heart rate should be if endurance training is the intent. In order to increase endurance target heart rate must be within ranges, if it is not in range you are not effectively performing endurance training. Ranges may vary per source, but generally 65-75% of your Maximum heart rate is the preferred range. *****Keep in mind your current fitness, if you are a beginner start of on a lower percentage to gauge how well your body tolerated activity. If you have any heart complications or pulmonary complications consult physician, percentages differ for people who have heart/pulmonary complications.
Target Heart Rate = Maximum Heart Rate x Target Heart Rate Percentage
Example - Target Heart Rate (65%) = 196 x .65 = 127 beats per minute
Example - Target Heart Rate (75%) = 196 x .75 = 147 beats per minute
Personal Goals: The exercises and intensity in which you perform the exercises are determined by your goals. If your goal is to improve endurance, your exercises should consist on endurance activities. If your goal is to improve strength it will consist of primarily strength activities. If your goal is improved mobility your routine should consist mainly of mobility exercises. It is important to incorporate all exercises into the routine, but emphasize on what will help you reach your personal goal.
Step 2: Equipment
Depending on the selected activity you wish to perform certain equipment will be needed. For the sake of this instructional I tried my best to keep the equipment to a bare minimal. Using the bare minimal equipment to create a well rounded options for improved endurance/strength/mobility. If money or space is a factor hopefully these options will provide you with new ideas.
Tire - Free (we found these tires on side of road and picked them up. You can go to junkyards and usually mechanics will want to get rid of old blown out tires as well. No need to spend)
Sledgehammer - $10 (depending on the weight of the sledgehammer price will vary, I have an 8lb, you can buy from your local department store that sells garden accessories (lowes, Home depot, etc.) They do sell fitness sledgehammers, but up to you to decide.)
Kettle-bell (55 lb) - $50-80 (My dad bought it, not sure how much he paid, but generally this is the price range, changes depending on the weight of kettle-bell)
Bike -$100+ - I have a hand me down bike from my brother (got it from Wal-mart), depending on if cycling or mountain biking costs can easily rise up. If you plan on just strolling the park you don't need anything fancy, but if you plan to compete in races it'll help to invest in a professional bike.
Running Shoes - $50+ (I have some Nike shoes, but I don't run long distances so they meet my needs. If you plan to do marathons, and run on a daily basis invest on proper running shoes that are fitted to you feet arches, and running pattern. Improper footwear can lead to injuries if you are a consistent runner.
Harness - $45 (Bought off amazon, attempted to make my own, but was uncomfortable and not safe so invested in a legitimate one. It is very comfortable and safe)
Gloves - $10 (You don't really need them, but with some exercises you can get blisters on your hand especially if not used to it, gloves provide improved grip as well as decreased blisters to hands.
Step 3: General Outdoor Activities
Walking (Endurance) - Going out for a walk is a good light exercise. Walk the park, walk the dog, walk to work, walk a trail, or even go hiking. Walking is low impact and low exertion, good for general stress relief and beginner exercises.
Gardening (Endurance/Strength) - Plant, grow flowers/vegetable/fruits trees. Gardening is a very good physical activity that can be light-moderate activity, stress relieving, and rewarding. If exercises aren't your thing, no problem, being outside it what counts.
Jogging/running/sprinting(Endurance) - run with your pet, run in a park, around the neighborhood, on a track, or on a field. Look up your area and you are almost guaranteed to find a local running group who can help you improve and provide tips.
Cycling/biking/mountain biking(Endurance/Strength) - Bike to work, bike a trail, bike the park. Use a HELMET to protect for falls, and always think safety and traffic as well.
Sports (Endurance) - Play a sport with your children, significant other, friends, family, pets. Play soccer, football, frisbee, golf, baseball, softball, kickball, catch, tag, etc. As long as you are moving, meeting your target heart rate and are outdoors are the important parts.
Step 4: Backyard Exercises
There are a variety of different exercise to perform with a tire/sledgehammer/kettlebell, but these are some exercises i use in my workout along with some extra ones as well. Most of these are full body but emphasize on a specific muscle group. I chose these equipment because overall they can be cheap and have a big diversity in how they can be used.
Tire pulls(Strength/Endurance) - back/grip strengthening
Tire flips(Strength/Endurance) - Full body strengthening
Tire drags (Strength/Endurance) - Leg strengthening
Farmer Carries(Strengthening/Endurance) - Total Body Strengthening
Tire Squats(Strengthening) - Leg Strengthening/Upper body as well
Tire push-ups(Strengthening) - Upper body Strengthening
Tire Jumps(Endurance/Strengthening) - Leg Strengthening/Endurance
Sledgehammers Slams(Endurance/Strengthening) - Upper body strengthening/Endurance
Sledgehammer punches(Strengthening) - Upper body strengthening
Kettle Bell Suitcase Carries(Strengthening) - Trunk/core strengthening
Kettle Bell Goblet Squats(Strengthening) - Leg/Trunk strengthening
I live in a ranch, so i added handles to the tires, black widows and brown recluses are common so I am definitely not sticking my hand inside a tire. I have thought about add a mesh or screen to cover up the inside, but thats a project for another time.
Step 5: Mobility Training
Mobility Can be performed anywhere, but exercises such as yoga, tai chi, stretching, meditation, and simple breathing exercises can be a bit more relaxing and wholesome when performing outside. One of the best outdoor fitness experiences I had was performing Yoga on a beach with light rain during a family vacation. All you need is to find a nice comfortable patch of grass (make sure there are no ants/spiders or any other creepy crawlers), if not take your yoga mat and all is good.
Yoga(Mobility/balance/stress) - There are different forms of yoga, each have a different emphasis, but doing Yoga outside is an experience worth trying. You can search up local classes, or simply find a good youtube video and follow along.
Tai Chi(Balance/Stress/Mobility) - Tai Chi has been find to decrease risk of falls for the older adults. It is a good stress reliever, helps with balance, and as a results helps with maintaining mobility.
General Stretches(Mobility/Stress) - Stretching is a very important part of fitness. Muscle tightness usually causes different pain to regions, decreased overall risk of injuries as well.
Meditation/Breathing(Stress) - Stress is a part of everyone's lives. Those who have good stress management have decreased risk of diseases, and improved overall health function. Stress results in muscle tightness, pain, and can limited mobility. It is important to relax and practice your breathing and manage your stress.
Step 6: Have Fun!
The idea is to have fun, enjoy your fitness activities and most importantly, spend time outdoors. Technology is such a big factor in our lives it is hard to escape it. Go outside and enjoy any activity that gets you moving! Fitness is a lifestyle, the most important thing is consistency.
Spending time outdoors provides the opportunity to spend time with oneself, with family, with friends, with a significant other, or even with strangers.
The purpose of this instructional was just to educate that there are a multitude of options when performing outdoor fitness activities. Don't limit yourself to just one activity, try new things, and find that specific fitness activity that makes you want to do it again and be consistent. Be safe and hopefully I see you guys outside!