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The Benefits of Outdoor Workouts!

Me, sweating on Barton Creek Trailphoto © 2011 rafaelmarquez | more info (via: Wylio) The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors and Our Favorite Spots for Stairs Running

Experts have long recommended cross-training (practicing different active skills or pursuits like boot camp and small group training) as one of the best solutions to the challenges of boredom, plateauing and overuse injuries. And moving between indoor and outdoor environments can be a particularly good way of diversifying your program while also building in some changes of scenery.

“There are some very real psychological and physiological benefits to balancing your exercise routine between indoor and outdoor environments,” says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist of the American Council on Exercise. One major benefit to outdoor training, he notes, “is that it tends to be more engaging and mentally stimulating due to the changing scenery and terrain — not to mention the mood boost that comes from being outside in the sunshine.”

Another benefit of many outdoor activities, says Bryant, “is that they involve higher levels of weight-bearing activity, which improves bone density by stimulating greater bone development.” And yes these are just two reasons we love our outdoor boot camp programs.

“Building more indoor and outdoor variety into your routine can help round out your workouts,” Esquerre continues. “Getting out of your usual routine and beyond your established comfort zone can also jump-start your body, helping you push past any plateaus in weight loss or conditioning.”

Move Outdoors

Research shows that the rejuvenation you feel after an outdoor workout is not just in your imagination. Exposure to the elements and outdoor scenery can have a marked, positive effect on your mental, emotional and physical state.

Many outdoor activities, like hiking, trail running and cross-country skiing, are also terrific ways to improve your proprioception (your sense of balance and where your body is in space). In the outdoors, you need to watch for and accommodate all sorts of obstacles — tree roots, dips in terrain, potholes, puddles and the like. The adjustments your body must make on changing terrain engage core and skeletal muscles that aren’t as active when the turf doesn’t vary.

Most outdoor workouts have the built-in appeal of a destination. Whether you’re doing an out-and-back run or biking a mountain-trail loop, physically proceeding along a route and gauging your progress toward a bona fide place offers some folks a sense of satisfaction and motivation they just can’t seem to get from the progress bars or time-elapsed readout on equipment monitors.

As you know, outdoor boot camps start in April, so get inspired and get registered now!

However, if you are just looking to some short bursts of cardio, check out our favorite spots for stair running in Milwaukee:

Concordia University Stairs

Klode Park Stairs

Atwater Beach Stairs (grueling)

Bradford Beach HILL AND STAIRS

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