AFTER A winter spent training under the bright neon lights of the gym, the thought of spending a couple of hours exercising in your usual sweat shop now the days are getting warmer and longer is not a very exciting prospect.
Maybe it’s time to ditch the machines, racks and benches and venture outdoors into the sunshine.
Your bleary eyes will find life’s better with the wind in your hair, the sun on your back, and the world zooming past.
Here are two ideas to take your fitness to the next level whilst communing with nature:
For a lot of guys, mountain biking conjures up images of adrenaline junkies in full-face helmets rocketing down white-knuckled descents, then chucking themselves off cliffs.
But it’s not all about speed, if you see it like skiing, where you can choose a green, blue, or black trail depending on your skill level.
Mountain biking is all about leaving the road behind and exploring what’s over that next hill, or through that other valley.
PROS – Apart from the downhill bits, mountain biking is low-impact and if there’s an obstruction like a large rock, you can get off your bike, walk around it, and keep going.
It’s also mentally engaging because you’re constantly looking ahead and making choices about picking a line, standing or sitting, and shifting gears.
CONS – Your ass will probably hurt from rattling over roots and rocks, so stand up in the pedals when riding through obstacles to spare yourself some of the beating.
CALORIES BURNED – 694 per hour.
OPEN-WATER SEA SWIMMING
We’ve all heard what a great fat-burning exercise swimming is, but most of it happens in the pool, where swimming endlessly back and forth, focused on lane patterns, is even more monotonous than the treadmill.
Taking the swim outside lets you actually get somewhere, like across a cove, or bay andthere is a no turning back motivational element involved.
Each stroke in the water works your shoulders and upper back, while pulling the water hits your lats and triceps hard. Don’t forget the hamstrings, quads, and glutes, which are largely responsible for your kick.
And, because you need to practice breath control while working major muscle groups, it’s a hell of an aerobic exercise that can leave your muscles and lungs screaming.
PROS – Swimming is a full-body workout without the pounding of running or the danger of cycling with traffic.
It’s a long, steady swim as you don’t get that flip turn every 25 or 50 metres where you can push off the wall and glide.
CONS – You don’t have walls or lane lines to follow and you usually can’t see what’s below you, either, so the fear of the unknown is a big factor.
Ocean currents and riptides can come into play depending on your local geography, so be sure to educate yourself before heading out.
Get into a breathing pattern you’re comfortable with and focus on counting your strokes, which will put your mind in a meditative state as you swim.
CALORIES BURNED – 694 per hour