Outdoor Exercise Tips
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Outdoor Exercise Tips

Sunday was a beautiful day here, 75 degrees and sunny! After church, my hubby and I went cycling for 20 miles. Before we got our bikes off our rack, we drank water, put on sunscreen, and helmets. The trail was very nice, except for occasional horse "presents" along the way. A lot of people riding bikes, walking, jogging, and rollerblading were out enjoying the day, too. Excitedly we cranked up our ride after the first few minutes. After mile 10, I yelled back to him, "You do realize we have to ride back." To which he replied, "Yes?" Hubby wasn't getting what I meant. We got off the trail with a nice park at that point to stretch, get some water, and check heart rates. The muscles in the back of my thighs were really tight! After a few minutes, we got back on our bikes to head back to our van. At the 7 mile mark before our destination, I got a bit of cramping in my legs. I geared down to relieve the tension. At only 4 miles left, my legs wanted to quit! I put my Will Power to work to shut my Won't Power up, "Legs, yes we can do this!" So I pushed through. It worked. The parking lot was a beautiful sight! Hubby was glad to see the van, too. We stretched and re-racked our bikes before leaving.

It was our first real outdoor workout for the season, so we were gung ho to enjoy our bike ride.You are probably that way, too. Here are some important things to remember before you head out for your outdoor workouts:

  1. Dress appropriately for your workout. Wear clothing for exercise that will wick away sweat from your body. Wear appropriate footwear for your activity.
  2. Put on sunscreen SPF 30 or higher. Use one made for faces to avoid having it run into your eyes. Moisturizers with an SPF are not sweatproof, so it will not last.
  3. Wear UVA/UVB eye protection. Without it, you can damage your eyes. My glasses are Transitions, so I always have my sunglasses available. You can also develop cancer of the eyes if you don't.
  4. Drink plenty of water. Drink 8 oz. an hour before you begin. Sip during workouts.so you don't vomit. Any workout that causes you to sweat profusely for over one hour, balance electrolytes with a sports drink formulated for high sweat activity.
  5. Be realistic.  Consider what you can do at the beginning of the season. 20 miles might have been overly optimistic for us, but we did take a break half way. Have options in mind in case you fizzle out before the end of your activity.
  6. Work out with a friend. Monitor each other's exercise responses. Hubby and I would check each other by asking, "How are you doing?" and looking over at each other for signs of over exertion.
  7. If you are on the trails, know the rules. All hiking/biking/horse trails have signs with the rules posted. Read them before you go.
  8. Watch for hazards. Bees are a bit dazed from hibernation, so they are very erratic. Snakes, chipmunks (almost became a victim of our tires), and other outdoor creatures don't care about what you want to do. Other people who either haven't been out or don't know the rules can also create a hazard. Uneven or cracked pavement can derail you on the trail. A dog on a leash eager to greet you before his owner can respond could put you in the hospital. Keep your eyes open.
  9. Watch for changes in weather. Cloud formations, a quick sudden breeze, and rain drops are indications that a storm could be headed your way. Take shelter as soon as possible. One lightning bolt on its way toward you could take you out of your game.
  10. Stay sober. Alcohol and other substances, now with the legalization of marijuana, are bad for your health. They impair your judgment and responses. Smoking and chewing tobacco are also hazardous when you are under exertion. Leave them out!
  11. If you have asthma or allergies, be sure to have your meds with you. People with asthma should have an inhaler along. Allergy sufferers should have emergency meds such as Benedryl or an Epi-pen along. Make sure your friend knows how to help you in an emergency.
  12. Diabetics should take along an emergency kit. Take either sugar tablets or candy and a more stabilizing snack like cheese and crackers. Have your friend know how to help you if your sugar crashes.
  13. Take a small first-aid kit.You can pack it in a backpack or bag. It should have alcohol pads, bandaids, tweezers, a small bottle of saline solution, and gauze bandages. Finger splints may be a helpful addition if you are playing sports like basketball or rollerblading.
  14. Have emergency numbers in your phone. Also, if you have an i-Phone, the Heart app has a place for your health information. If not, keep an emergency medical card in your wallet with health conditions, medication list, blood type, and other pertinent in case you need to call EMS.
  15. Pay attention to suspicious behavior in other people. Practice good self-defense skills with observation. When people greet you, which they often do on the trails, look them in the eye with a smile and greet them. Just making eye contact to acknowledge their presence can deter a lot of potential problems. If you do see suspicious activity, leave and call the police. Make note of the place, the people, behavior and any other details you remember. The police will need that to investigate.

Best of all, have a great time! Safe workouts outdoors are great workouts. Blessings to you!

To find trails near you,Rails-to-Trails Trail Link

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