Monday, May 4, 2009

A little help in discovering how to take advantage of Spring!

Feeling like you need to get a little more in shape and get your body toned for a soon approaching summer? Not actively following through with your New Years resolution like you planned? It's never too late to work on your physique and give your body a little added confidence boost. Spring is one of the most inspirational seasons, offering some of the most motivating weather to get your body back up to par. Let me give you some advice on how to take advantage of every aspect of spring's pleasantly sweet weather and make your body hot while you're at it.

60 and 70 degree days- We all love those not-to-cold-not-to-warm days, and while they're often sparse, spring is the season where you'll see the majority of those perfect days. So ditch your monotonous treadmill routine and get outside. Take advantage of the extra nice weather. 60 and 70 degree days provide the perfect temperature for running (even those first few 50 degree weather days are great for a run). While cool enough to keep you from excessively sweating (although I tend to find myself still coming back dripping from a run), the temperature is warm enough to loosen up your joints a little bit and helps you avoid a feeling of tightness that can often tamper you from the start. Besides the added bonus of a nice change of scenery, getting outside can help you burn more calories than your normal workout at the gym! According to Women's Health mag., by moving your running routine from the gym to the outdoors, you up your calorie burn by about 5 percent. Varied terrain and crisp spring breezes are two of the biggest factors that can be attributed for this increase.

Non-breezy, cloudy days- On those calm, unwindy spring days pull out your tennis bag, grab a can of balls, and hit the courts. Spring provides the perfect temperature for engaging in an intense game of tennis. While clouds might make you frown upon first looking out the window, they provide a perfect setting for tennis. Instead of relying on a visor to haphazardly keep the sun out of your face while serving, get the most out of a cloudy day by taking advantage of its ability to keep the sun out of your face. Also, tennis is a great way to maximize your work out by toning a range of different muscles. An approximate 350-500 calories can be burned from playing a mere 60 minutes of singles.

Breezy Days- Don't let a little breeze deter you from moving outside. Instead, step outside and wind down by taking a relaxing walk in the great outdoors. Walks are a great way to relive stress and get your mind off issues that may be troubling you. A little wind won't impede on your walking like it might with numerous sports and other outdoor activities. Let the crisp spring breeze hit your face as you glance around at your freshly-green surroundings. By walking as opposed to running/driving/racing/rushing, you can be more attentive of spring's yearly colorful awakening as you take in all of the sweet smelling flowers and emerging tree buds around you. For me personally, walking is much more enjoyable outdoors as opposed to indoors, and spring is the perfect time to get outside again after a long, grueling winter. As reported in Women's Health mag., in 2007, researchers in England compared the mental benefits of a 30-minute walk in the park to an indoor stroll. 71 percent of the subjects who took it outside said they felt less tense afterward, while 72 percent of the indoor crew felt even more stressed.

Hot, light-rain days- On those hot, 80 degree days leading up to summer, you often hope for someone to pull out a squirt gun and relieve you of the heat as you trudge through the end of your run. Take advantage of spring's often drizzling-days by going for a short run. The light rain will feel good as you get the blood circulating in your body and start to work up a sweat. Don't let the rain keep you inside or push you towards going to the smelly, musty gym, because most likely you'll leave the gym drenched in sweat anyways.

Heavy rainy days- Spring can sometimes have spouts of what seems like never-ending rainy days. Instead of dwelling on the weather, use these days to unfold your yoga mat and engage in some stretching. Listen to the pitter-patter of the rain drops on your window as you tranquilly move from pose to pose. Think of the rain as a blessing, providing an excuse for a good change of pace from your intense runs, and a means of great, natural music for your yoga sessions.

Any Day- Start a garden. Gardening is great exercise, and spring is the prime time to start one. In a study done by Iowa State University, women typically burned around 300 calories per hour gardening, while men burned as many as 400 calories per hour. Gardening works muscles you might not typically reach at the gym. From experience, gardening can definitely leave you feeling sore (in a good way) the next day. Not only will you be burning calories and toning your muscles, you will be generating nutrient-rich produce to sustain you and keep you healthy throughout late spring and summer! Gardening can be done in any spring weather, even if its rainy. In fact, rainy weather is one of the best times to weed plants since the soil becomes loosened through the rain.

GET TONED, GET HOT, GET HEALTHY, GET OUTSIDE! No matter what activity you desire to do, spring is one of the best times to once again enjoy the outdoors and bask in some warm weather. Don't let the hot or drizzly weather of spring prevent you from shaping up your body or even going outdoors. While you may have to vary the activity you do depending on the weather, there are almost no days in spring of which aren't auspicious for toning up your body.

The outdoors provides a great change of scenery alongside spring's sweet-smelling aromas, which can help to motivate you to get moving. Enjoy spring's fluctuating outdoor temps, because according to Women's Health mag., wavering temps. increase the number of calories you torch by about 7 percent because your body has to work to keep a steady temperature of 98.6 degrees.

So start you're personal engine and GO!

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