By Erica Moe | Get Fit
Outside, that is! When was the last time you played outside? Literally, played —catch, tag or Frisbee? Remember when your mom would call you from the back door, and you would come running? Physical activity wasn’t putting in time on a machine; it was playing games, which can be considered physical activity. Half of Americans participate in outdoor activities and 70 percent of them consider their outdoor activities exercise. There are many ways that adults can play that can count as physical activity.
Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control state that adults should have 2.5 hours of moderate activity per week. Moderate outdoor activities can include: rollerblading/skating, skateboarding, walking, disc golf, dodge ball, surfing and kayaking and stand-up paddling, which had the most new participants in the previous year.
Recommendations from the CDC state that adults should have 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Outdoor activities include hiking, jump rope, handball, Ultimate Frisbee, biking/mountain biking/BMX, and running — including trail running, which is the most popular outdoor activity. Adventure racing/triathlons grew the most over the past five years, increasing 211 percent.
Not ready to give up your beloved fitness equipment? Mix it up a little and add an outdoor component to your regular indoor workout at home or at the gym.
- Take a walk or run outside and finish up with some strength training. Mission Valley Y has new Cybex VR2 equipment, Queenax or HD Elite.
- After your time on a cardio machine, step outside to a grassy area and do some stretching or calisthenics.
- Take a swim in the pool or try a class. Summer is the perfect time to try a class like Aqua Zumba, Aqua Mind/Body or Aqua Interval at the Y.
- Utilize a playground to keep up the calorie burn after your workout.
- Live close by? Walk or take a bike ride to the facility as your warm up and cool down.
Reconnect with the outdoors
- Host a couple’s game night. Invite your friends, not to play board games, but go outside and play capture the flag, kickball or tackle an obstacle course together.
- Play with your kids — no more bench sitting at the playground. For starters, try the monkey bars.
- Get competitive. Host a hula-hoop competition. And instead of sitting out, keep it active by doing 25 pushups to get back in the game. Or, register for an adventure race.
- Rent it. Missing some of the gear? Rent it or look for a coupon to save some dough.
Play it safe
Be sure to bring a partner when activities are outdoors. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses. Protective clothes include protection from the sun as well as protective gear like helmets, if needed.
Have fun, melt calories
Give yourself permission to put down the remote, let go of your preconceived notions about what exercise has to be and just GO OUTSIDE. Who knows, you may just have some fun. Imagine that. Play like you’re a kid again, and watch those calories melt away.
—Erica Moe is an ACSM certified exercise physiologist who writes on the behalf of the Mission Valley YMCA where she is fitness director.