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4 Reasons to Exercise Outside
Posted By The FIRM Master Instructor Team On July 24, 2009 @ 6:30 am In Family Health, Fitness, Health & Wellness | No Comments
By The FIRM  Master Instructor Kelly Branning
When I lived in Alaska, I went from my heated house to my heated car to my heated exercise room. Now, in South Carolina, there are days that I go from my air-conditioned house to my air-conditioned car to my air-conditioned exercise room. If you find yourself gazing out the window mid-workout, lingering just a little longer when you retrieve your morning paper or volunteering to walk the dog … don’t fight it! It’s time to get outside.
If you follow a routine that incorporates a broad variety of workout styles , you already experience the benefits of “muscle confusion ” — the training technique of using the same muscle groups in different ways to boost results. If you don’t already do this, or you want to take your results to a new level, add outdoor exercise. Try something you haven’t done before. Rent a kayak . Hike that nature trail you have been thinking about. Walk  or run a 5K for charity.
We are all very aware of the connection between sun and skin cancer. While caution with exposure is important, you do not want to avoid the sun altogether. There is widespread Vitamin D deficiency in the United States, particularly in northern climates that get less sunlight during winter months. Vitamin D works to regulate your hormones and your mood and is essential in the absorption of calcium.
Along with resistance training , the body needs to properly absorb calcium in order to prevent the weak and brittle bones that can come with osteopenia and osteoporosis . In addition, studies are under way to determine if Vitamin D can help prevent cancer  as well. About 15 to 20 minutes per day of sunshine, with the proper sunscreen  of course, can provide your daily requirement.
If you’re not all that interested in trying something new just yet, take your favorite sculpting moves outside. Grab your weights , medicine ball  or resistance band  and get some sunshine while you sculpt. You can lunge, squat and lift  in the yard, the park or the driveway. Use the front steps for push-ups. Use a jump rope to get your heart rate moving in between sets. Use your band for upper body moves like shoulder work and biceps.
Combine outdoor exercise with social time. Invite a friend to join you on your hike. Take your kids for a bike ride . Get out the leash and take Rover with you. Walking  with your significant other can provide a great opportunity to talk and spend one-on-one time.
In my family, the TV, computers and cell phones are a constant distraction. My kids think the people who text them are more interesting than I am. My husband feels he must respond immediately to every “pinging” sound of incoming e-mail. Getting this crew out walking the dog  (so they can’t hold cell phones) or riding bikes  is an opportunity to connect with them and with the outdoors at the same time. If you get some resistance from them initially, push just a little. It’s worth it. I always (and I do mean always) get resistance at my suggestions to walk the dogs or bike. But they inevitably return from it saying, “That was great,” or “We should do that every day.”
Your body is an amazing and fantastic tool. If you dedicate yourself to regular exercise , it can become stronger and more balanced. Take that out into the world and see how much more you can accomplish!
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URLs in this post:
 The FIRM: http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=ikoB54HG8Ag&offerid=133367.10000229&type=3&subid=0
 workout styles: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/5-Workout-Techniques-to-Burn-Major-Calories-in-Less-Time.html
 kayak: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/StayFit-Family-Vacations-Good-for-You-and-the-Planet.html
 Walk: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/5-Ways-to-Lose-More-Weight-with-Walking.html
 resistance training: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Why-Women-Need-Weight-Training.html
 osteoporosis: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/HealthytotheBonePreventingandTreatingOsteoprosis.html
 help prevent cancer: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Top3CancerFightingFoods.html
 sunscreen: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Sunscreens-More-Harm-than-Good.html
 weights: http://www.gaiam.com/product/the+firm--174-+cardioweight--153-+system.do?SID=WG107SPRTAPEMACS
 medicine ball: http://www.gaiam.com/product/the+firm--174-+power+ball+kit.do?SID=WG107SPRTAPEMACS
 resistance band: http://www.gaiam.com/category/fitness-center/strength-cardio/kits-equipment.do?SID=WG107SPRTAPEMACS
 lunge, squat and lift: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/3-Keys-to-a-Better-Bum-A-Guide-to-a-Shapelier-Lower-Body.html
 Take your kids for a bike ride: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/5-EcoFriendly-Kids-Activities.html
 Walking: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/WalkingTheBestWorkout.html
 walking the dog: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/7-safety-tips-for-the-win-win-workout-walking-the-dog/
 regular exercise: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/How-to-Stick-with-a-Fitness-Routine-5-ways-to-stay-motivated-to-exercise-regularly.html
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