How to workout outdoors all autumn long
With a few simple steps, it’s easy to get structured exercise and still enjoy beautiful autumn weather
Autumn is in full swing, which means it’s the last opportunity to enjoy a workout outdoors without snow on the ground. That’s great news for anyone who loves peeping the colorful leaves, but for fitness-minded individuals, beautiful fall weather presents a dilemma: stick with your regular exercise routine, or skip the workout and enjoy the weather?
The good news is, you can have it both ways. With Wellbeats, people of all ages and stages of fitness can take their workout outdoors wherever they choose, including nature and on the road. Wellbeats’ on-demand, virtual fitness content includes a variety of classes that combine the structure and expert guidance of group fitness, with the flexibility to complete workouts on your own schedule and in your location of choice. As a fitness instructor, I know how important it is to help people find fitness that fits their age, skill level, and interests.
If you’re like me and you love the outdoors and fitness, here are some tips for making the most of autumn before the snow flies:
- Go virtual. Exercising on someone else’s schedule is so old fashioned. Virtual, on-demand fitness gives users the flexibility to complete a professionally designed workout when, where, and how they choose. Feel like a midnight yoga class? Go for it. Want to do high-intensity interval training over lunch? There’s an instructor waiting. And since classes are available on a smartphone or tablet—and many require no equipment—they work just as well outside as they do in a gym or a basement.
- Hit the road (or trails). If you want to take your workout outdoors, running and walking are a natural fit. Neither requires any equipment other than a good-fitting pair of shoes, and the exercise is just as effective on the local trail as it is on a treadmill. But while everyone knows the basics of running, even this seemingly simple workout can be enhanced with expert instruction. Virtual fitness from Wellbeats offers access to running and walking classes in our new Strides channel, designed by Olympian Carrie Tollefson. Just lace up your shoes, put on your headphones, and let an expert guide your workout.
- Drop the weights. Running is far from the only exercise that works outdoors. Pilates, high-impact interval training, and yoga classes that rely on body weight work just as well outdoors as in. Stretching and recovery classes can complement other forms of exercise or just help ease the stress of a long day. An effective virtual fitness platform will provide tools to filter available classes and easily identify options that don’t require weights or other equipment.
- Stay connected. Weights and machines aren’t necessary for a good outdoor workout, but there are a few essentials, and a few additional items, that will make the experience more enjoyable. Start with a phone, tablet or computer to stream on-demand content. Any of these options work for streaming video outside, as long as there’s a cellular or wifi connection available. If watching the class isn’t an option, or users want to be more mobile, a pair of headphones works for following audio prompts. In addition, a workout mat or blanket is a good option for keeping the grass and dirt from staining a workout outfit.
- Prepare for the environment. There are important distinctions between indoor and outdoor workouts. Sunburn and bug bites, for example, aren’t typically a concern at the gym. But make sure to wear sunscreen and bug spray for outdoor workouts, and consider sunglasses and a hat for additional protection. Want to avoid doing interval training in driving rain? Check the weather before heading outside to make sure there’s not a storm on the horizon. In addition, it’s important to stay hydrated during outdoor workouts no matter the time of year. There’s no climate control outside, so expect to sweat more than usual if the sun is shining brightly.
- Bring friends. Forgoing scheduled group fitness classes doesn’t have to mean abandoning your gym buddies. Working out is often more fun when you can engage friends and family, and planning a group activity makes everyone more accountable to actually show up. Find friends who are interested in a workout, get together in a park or someone’s back yard, and fire up a class that works for everyone.
- Just go. Sometimes the best tip for enjoying fall is the simplest: Just find something you love and do it. I recently took my sons to Banff and it was glorious. We hiked through forests and along mountain streams. There were no workout plans, but we definitely got our exercise while soaking up the sun and breathing in fresh air. Structured exercise is a great way to get fit, but sometimes the best thing you can do is to get outside and go.
Autumn is a fantastic time to be outside and active, but because it’s also a busy time of the year socially, it can be hard to maintain a normal workout schedule. Look for opportunities to incorporate outdoor fitness into your travel and social activities and take advantage of technology that helps you do so.
Mark Kingsriter is the fitness director for Wellbeats, a content and software-as-a-service company that delivers on-demand, virtual fitness programming for corporate wellness programs. Wellbeats is committed to delivering “fitness that fits” through more than 400 fitness classes that can be accessed anytime through iOS, Android, Windows devices, Apple TV, website portal or onsite options. Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.