By Kate Horney
In honor of Earth Day, we’re thinking outside the walls and taking our fitness outdoors today!
1. BeyondFit Sprints
Ditch that stinky gym and hours on the treadmill or elliptical and take your cardio OUTSIDE! I’ve seen mores results, both for myself and for my clients, with 10 minute sprint workouts than I ever did with hours (and hours and hours) of moderate intensity, long duration, steady state cardio per week. (Note to moms: I love to do my sprints with my jogging stroller! Just make sure you keep the proper form by checking out the guidelines here.
Sprints are one of the most effective lower body exercises because they literally teach your body how to be an effective fat burner. And as a bonus: it feels great to be outside getting some fresh air!
The last twenty years in exercise science has provided great insight into how the body uses fuel during and after exercise. Unlike steady state aerobics, sprint training produces a metabolic ripple that leads to enhanced fat burning for days after the workout is over. I have found sprints to be one of the most effective ways to lose fat and get toned. Read: 5 Reasons Why I Love Sprint Workouts for Moms.
Simple sprint workout: 10 sprints = 30 seconds all out sprinting, with one minute of rest in between sprints.
2. Park Workout
Take your workout to the park! Yes, that’s right…you can get slim without the gym! All you need is a set of dumbbells, a yoga mat and some sweat and effort, and you’ll get fat burning results while your kiddos play on the slide.
In the BeyondfFit Life Club one of our mottos is “Healthy, Happy & Balanced.” Balancing fitness and motherhood is a challenge, for sure. I’m all about taking time to make health a priority, and I’m not bashing moms who regularly hit the gym…but I do hope we will all remember to practice BALANCE as we navigate life as busy moms. Personally, I find I’m a better, more patient mom when I make time to get a workout in…buuuut I also don’t want to miss lots of time with my boys, especially when they’re so little.
I don’t want to be so obsessed with my own physique that I’m spending hours at the gym and completely missing out on special times with my family. That’s why I created workouts that can be done entirely from HOME!
I haven’t had a gym membership in over 4 years! There’s no right or wrong way to be a fit mom, but I do think it needs to be said that you DON’T have to spend hours at the gym to stay fit and healthy.
3. Family Play Time
Speaking of family time…earth day is a great day to get outside simply to PLAY! Being active can involve active play as well as exercise.
Ditch the screens. Did you know that kids that have more than 2 hours of screen time a day have been associated with an increase in health problems such as:
-obesity and diabetes
-irregular sleep patterns
Take your family outside! Involve their friends and make it fun. Ask other moms in the area what their children do to be active. Organize active play dates at parks, have friendly soccer games, or get them to join a friend’s team.
The National Association for Sports and Physical Education have given the following guidelines for kids exercise needs:
Toddler: 1½ hours – 30 minutes planned physical activity AND 60 minutes unstructured physical activity (free play)
Preschooler: 2 hours – 60 minutes planned physical activity AND 60 minutes unstructured physical activity (free play)
School age: 1 hour or more broken up into bouts of 15 minutes or more
Click here for more ideas on how to get your kids active right alongside you!
4. Leisurely Walks
Walking + high-intensity exercise (like our BeyondFit Life workouts) = optimal fat loss.
If you want your body to burn fat, build muscle, recover properly, sleep better, and even age well, you must have the correct balance of stress producing hormones (cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline) compared to growth promoting hormones (testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH)).
So for optimal fat burning, get outside and start walking! Note: walking should be done at a leisurely pace. Moderate intensity aerobic exercise raises cortisol and can lead to muscle loss just as readily as fat loss.
Want the perfect fat loss workout program? Combine high-intensity exercise like weight lifting, sprinting, and interval training with low intensity activity like leisurely walking.
Leisurely walking is done slowly at a relaxed pace, allowing you to easily carry on a conversation (a speed of 3.5 or less on a typical treadmill) and should be done as much as feasible everyday.
Fitness experts and beginners alike can utilize leisurely walking after an intense workout to maximize the levels of growth hormones and minimize the levels of stress hormones produced. Make it your goal to walk for 30-60 minutes each day.
5. Outside Yoga/Stretching
If you’re looking to wind down after a tough workout, try some outdoor yoga or bring your mat out to stretch. To help you start off, try some sun salutations…they’re the foundation of any flowing yoga practice and can be used to both stretch and condition the body, depending on pace and frequency.
Here is a short description of each pose in a traditional sun salutation:
Mountain pose: stand at the top of your mat, tall and strong. Feet level, legs active and engaged, navel reaching to spine, shoulders rolled down and back, crown of the head lifts toward the ceiling.
Arms extend: from sides, moving through parallel to the ground and sweep overhead. Palms touch above the head.
Swan dive into forward fold: While arms begin to sweep back down extending from the sides, hinge at the hips and fold forward, keeping the back flat and legs straight for as long as possible before releasing into a forward fold, fingers reaching for the toes, you may round the back slightly and/or bend the knees as necessary.
Half lift: Torso lifts to straighten and become parallel with the floor. Core in engaged. Hands may rest on the shins, dangle in mid-air, or remain on the mat if your hamstrings have the flexibility.
High plank into chatarunga (or knees-chest-and-chin): Step back and come into a high plank (like the top of a push up). From there lower slowly with elbows staying in close to sides (like a tricep push up). If this is not accessible for you currently, lower to the knees and perform the same motion.
Baby cobra, cobra, or up dog: Releasing to the stomach, lift the upper body only for baby cobra. If you can, take weight into the hands and lift the upper body and hips off the floor for full cobra. Or for a further expression take weight into the hands and tops of the feet (toes pointed) and lift everything else off the ground for up dog. Remember to keep should blades pressing down and back, away from the ears.
Down dog: Flexing the feet, send your body up and back into down dog. You should be in somewhat of an upside-down V shape. Ears are between the biceps, gazing back at your knees or thighs. Hips are pressing up and back while heels reach for the floor (it will take some consistent practice to actually get them there). Knees may be bent if necessary. Fingers and toes point toward the front of the mat.
Walk the feet forward: till they are between the hands again (knees can bend as much as necessary) and you are now back in a forward fold.
Half lift: same as above
Forward fold: release back into a forward fold as above
Reverse swan dive: With a flat back and engaged core, hinge at the hips to bring the torso back to upright and the body back to standing. Arms are out at sides again parallel to floor and sweep up for palms to meet overhead once the body is fully upright again.
Hands to heart: Keeping the palms touching, send the hands down the centerline of the body, stopping in front of the heart. The rest of the body returns to mountain pose.
Congrats! You just completed one full sun salutation!
Happy Earth Day!
One reason so many women love our BeyondFit Life workouts is that they can be done anytime, anywhere…and we love working out with our little ones outside!
How are you going to take your workout outdoors on Earth Day?