Spring into Fresh-Air Fitness

Jump-start your fitness plan this season.
Published March 16, 2017

Many of us also look forward to making the most of the "extra" hour of evening light that arrives with Daylight Savings Time. Spring is the perfect time to jump-start your fitness routine and head outside into the evening light. No matter your fitness level or favourite type of activity, outdoor exercise has definite benefits. Get your heart pumping and muscles moving while taking in the fresh air and sunshine—for free!

Rediscover the outdoors
If you feel like you still get home from work too late to take advantage of the evening light, ask your boss if you can leave half an hour early one or two days a week (instead of taking a full lunch hour) and use the time to walk, jog, rollerblade, cycle or play frisbee.

Engage the whole family
Combining family or social time with fitness means you're more likely to stick with a workout and ultimately meet your fitness goals, says certified personal trainer Nathaniel Oliver. Oliver also recommends after-dinner walks that involve steps and hills which will burn extra calories.

Marco Ferdinandi, Sports Performance Director for Velocity Sports Performance in New York City, suggests a game of "Builders and Dozers" to maximize family and fitness time. You only need some small plastic cones, available at sporting goods stores. "Scatter 20 to 30 cones in an open area, some standing and some lying on their sides," he says. Divide into two teams (a "team" can be as little as one person). Set a time limit of 1 minute, during which the "builders" stand cones up, while the "dozers" knock cones over.

When time is up, the team with more cones in their position wins. Ferdinandi recommends gradually moving on to 5-minute intervals to increase the intensity of the workout. The game's not only a way to spend fun time with your kids, he says, but it's a great aerobic exercise that promotes key fitness moves such as change of direction, squatting and bending.

Salute the sun
An extra hour of daytime doesn't have to be about packing in extra activities; it's also a chance to re-calibrate your overall approach to diet and fitness. Oliver suggests simply remembering to open your blinds or curtains when you get home from work to let the sunshine in. This should "make you think of summertime, and hopefully keep your diet and fitness goals in check." Where fitness is concerned, a beckoning ray of sunshine might just be the motivation we need to stay on track.