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Get Out! Ditch the Gym for a Better Summer Workout

We may not be kids anymore, but that doesn't mean we don't get excited when summer rolls around and we can finally get out and play. Gone are the dark winter days when our only fitness options were to toil on the stair-stepper or endure endless repetitions in the weight room. Now we have a plethora of ways to elevate our workout from something we just do to something we truly look forward to. It's proven that outdoor workouts increase motivation, cut boredom, and decrease stress—so what are we waiting for? Let's get up and get outside—but first, let's check out these 5 tips on how to seize the season and stay safe while doing so.

Try something new

Learning a new sport can be incredible motivation for getting outside. By sampling yoga, taking up tennis, joining a beginner's backpacking hike, or even taking a kayaking lesson, you'll be working out your body while engaging your brain, too. With websites like Meetup.com, it's never been easier to join a group activity or class and learn from those with years of experience. You just might end up finding a sport you'll enjoy for years to come.

Work toward a goal

Working up to the next speed on a treadmill isn't really that satisfying—but training for a charity walk or run is. Set yourself a distance goal and work toward it, day by day and week by week—and you might be able to raise money for a favourite cause in the process. (Want some tips on how to train safely? The Mayo Clinic has a great training schedule for beginners.)

Go swimming

The most pleasant workout option on a scorching day? Jumping into a refreshing pool. Check out public outdoor pools in your area, or take advantage of lakes and oceans if you're lucky to have them nearby. Swimming is low-impact and easy on the joints, and because it uses the entire body, it's considered by many to be one of the most effective workouts out there.

Avoid asphalt

Reflected heat from the city streets can make a warm and sunny day feel downright miserable. Choose shady streets, parks, or forest trails for walking, running, and biking—you should be sweating because of the workout, not because of the weather.

Stay safe

When summer temperatures peak, it's better to stay inside than push it in the heat. Avoid working out outdoors during the hottest part of the day (from 10 to 3), and decrease the intensity of the workout on hotter days. Wear lightweight cotton or moisture-wicking synthetics to keep you dry, and a hat to stay cool. And always remember—hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

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