You’ve kept active all winter by logging some treadmill miles, going to spin classes or with free yoga at the library, right? Well, now, it’s time to take your workout outside. Exercising in the fresh air will give you some of that much needed Vitamin D and a healthy dose of happiness as you breathe in the warm air and enjoy the sights and sounds of spring. For those who choose to run or walk as their means of exercise, taking it from the treadmill to the open road will come with some challenges. The sidewalks could be uneven; Weather is a factor; There is no longer a belt assisting your legs. Don’t let these hardships deter you from getting your calorie burn in the sunshine. Instead, utilize these tips to transition yourself into an outdoor exerciser:
1. Take your time.
Transitioning isn’t something that is going to happen over the course of a day or even a week. It may take three or four weeks to fully acclimate yourself to the outdoors. You could try gradually increasing the number of outside workouts you do. I usually start with taking just my Sunday morning run outdoors then slowly add in the weekday ones.
2. Move slowly.
Now it the time to be okay with slower speeds. As your body transitions, your pace will gradually increase. In the first few weeks of my own transition, I typically run by time instead of mileage.
In general, consider following the recommendation from The American College of Sports Medicine by drinking approximately 1 oz per every 10 pounds of body weight four hours before heading outside. During the run/walk, you should try to take in water every few miles and drink an electrolyte replacement drink like Nuun, Gatorade or Powerade if you are going to be running for more than an hour.
4. Be safe.
Before heading out, let someone know where you are going and when they should expect you back. Though the buddy system is the best idea, that’s not always possible so make sure you stay alert and watch your surroundings as well as your feet. A sprained ankle isn’t the best start to the season. I run with a Road ID which has an emergency name and number listed on it. For more safety tips, check out this blog post.
Now that you’ve learned how to transition, it’s time to start. Get out there and enjoy the warmth before it’s coat season again. Don’t blink; you might miss it.