Outdoor Exercise: Tips and Tricks during the Summer

The weather is perfect and summer is finally here, which means it’s time to take your workouts out of the stuffy gym and outside. So stock up on the sunscreen, charge your phone and cut out some orange slices for the road. Here’s a few tips and tricks to make working out outside safer and more fun:

1. Get a check-up to make sure you’re all set to workout

Before starting any workout routine, you should make sure your body is all set to go. Your insurance should cover an annual check-up with little or out-of-pocket cost and a quick trip to the doctor can make sure that your heart, lungs and the rest of your body is ready to get your sweat on without any dangerous side effects. This is especially important if you’re a man over 45, a woman over 55, have any pre-existing conditions like asthma or heart disease or haven’t worked out consistently in the past three months or more. An expert at Slidell Memorial Hospital can help plan a fitness and diet plan to get the maximum effects safely and quickly.

2. Get a workout buddy

Whether it’s inside or outside, working out with a buddy means you’ll be more likely to stick with it and have more fun doing it. From walking, running or doing yoga in the park, a buddy can make sure you’re on time and encourage you to do your best while you’re working out. One study from a Kansas State researcher found that people who exercised with someone they thought were a little more fit than them were likely to increase their intensity by 200%. "People like to exercise with others and make it a social activity," Kansas State professor Brandon Irwin told Science Daily. "We found that when you're performing with someone who you perceive as a little better than you, you tend to give more effort than you normally would alone."

3. Or even better? Find a group to work out with

This is where the internet can be a great tool (with the proper caution of course) to find the perfect new workout buddies in your hometown. In Slidell, Meetup.com has groups for hiking, kayaking and other outdoor sports. There’s also running groups around the region like the Northshore Running Club, which organizes run groups and promotes a healthy lifestyle. Or, see if your local gym has outdoor fitness classes.

4. Get some cool apps

Need help finding a cool running trail? Map My Run has recommendations and a tool to track how far and fast you run (there’s a free version on iTunes or a premium version with no ads on it for only a few dollars.) Gizmodo has a helpful list of other top fitness apps including ones that have suggestions for yoga, tracking your outdoor activities and can give you a circuit training boost from Nike.

5. Be prepared for the heat

Apply sweat-proof sunscreen as you would before a trip to the beach—early and often. Try to get a workout in before 10 am (we’d recommend even before 8 to avoid the beginning of the humid part of the day) or after 4 pm. Also make sure to get as much water as you can – which means drinking water not only during the workout but as much as you can during the day. And make sure to pay attention to your body: If you start to feel lightheaded or overheated, take a break—it’s not worth risking your health to finish a workout. Wear light loose-fitting clothes as well—darker-colored clothes can trap the heat and make your body overheat more easily. But be sure to wear clothing—working out in just a sports bra or without a t-shirt can expose your skin to additional sun damage. While it’s tempting to drop hundreds of dollars on the cutest clothing at high-end stores, new workout lines at Target, Wal Mart and Old Navy can provide the same stylish look at a much more wallet-friendly price

6. Have fun!

No instructions here—just the most important thing.