Spring into Fresh-Air Fitness

Still searching for that hour you lost when the clocks changed? It's gone, but it left behind an extra hour of daylight to jumpstart your fitness plan.
Spring into Fresh Air Fitness
Once the first foggy morning of losing an hour of sleep passes, Daylight Saving Time is a wondrous thing. A 24-hour day seems magically longer when there's more daylight to enjoy. So why not take advantage of that extra sunshine and get outside for some exercise?

No matter your fitness level or favorite type of activity, outdoor activity has definite benefits. To begin with, there's no gym membership required! Get your heart pumping and muscles moving while taking in the fresh air.

Rediscover the outdoors
Take a cue from Lindsay, a client services representative in Los Angeles, who plans to join a beach volleyball class that starts at 6 p.m. "It's easy to forget about public outdoor spaces during the winter," she says, but longer days mean lots of fitness opportunities at parks, playgrounds and beaches, many of which are open until sunset.

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 Nathaniel Oliver, a certified personal trainer and founder of New York City-based Type A Training. Oliver also recommends after-dinner walks that involve steps and hills which will burn extra calories.

Marco Ferdinandi, Regional Director of Fitness and Personal Training at New York Sports Clubs, 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 recalibrate 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.


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