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Get outside: Fun ways to get fit in the fresh air

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Outdoor fitness fun

Bored with the treadmill? We are too! With spring in the air and summer fast approaching, it’s time to take your fitness routine out of the gym and into the great outdoors. To help get you pumped up for a season of fresh air fitness, we’ve come up with a few ideas to get your started. Check out our picks for simple ways to sweat it out and burn calories outdoors.

Friends jogging

1Hit the trails

If you like to run, springtime is the time to put some spring in your step. Grab a jogging buddy, locate a scenic route and get moving! You'll need a pair of sturdy running shoes and you should be fairly comfortable with uneven terrain if you're going to give this outdoor activity a try. Start slow – you won't be going at your usual pace on a trail (especially if you're just starting out). But running trails can be an intense cardio workout and a lot of fun -- not to mention the scenery is amazing and beats a slog (er, we mean, jog) through the smoggy city. To find a trail in your area, check out the American Trail Running Association's list of trails by state.

2Explore your own backyard

Not up for the trails? Even if you're not a jogger or even a fitness walker, now is your chance to get outside, enjoy the sunshine and get moving in a new part of your neighbourhood. Even if you do run or walk regularly, chances are you're getting bored of the indoor track or your usual route. Change it up by coming up with alternative options that incorporate parts of your town or city you don't usually visit. Use Map My Run to plan a detailed route that will have you sweating it out in a whole new part of town.

3Try team sports

Remember how much fun you had as a kid kicking a ball around or playing flag footwall with your friends after school? Well, guess what? All that running around was not only fun, it burned tons of calories, too (not that you needed to worry about your weight in elementary school). Summer is the perfect time to revisit some of your favorite childhood sports, or even games you played in high school or college. Find a league in your area, sign up and get started. Better yet, create your own team with a group of friends or sign up for a sport with your significant other so you can sweat it out together. You can supplement your weekly beach volleyball or soccer game with other activities, but team sports are a great way to break up fitness boredom and get outside.

4Think like a kid

Think the playground is just for kids? Think again! All that equipment you watch your little ones play on every weekend or that you used all those years ago (we're not counting, don't worry) make the perfect, no-cost way to get in shape. Create a mini circuit for yourself, including running on the spot (or on the track if you'll be using a park that has one), skipping rope (mega calorie burn), push-ups and tricep dips (using a bench), and pull-ups (on the playground bars). After all is said and done, treat yourself to a few minutes on the swings!

5Outdoor fitness tips

Drink plenty of water. You need to replenish what you sweat out and summer especially can leave you extra dehydrated to always have water with you when your work out.

Cover up. We're sure you already know this but being outdoors means wearing sunscreen (even when it's cloudy). And if you're sweating, you'll need to reapply more often. We also suggest wearing a hat for further sun protection.

Take it easy. If you're feeling anything remotely unusual (faint, uncomfortable), slow down or stop and rest in the shade. The summer sun can be brutal, so make sure to monitor how you're feeling.

More fitness tips

The best exercises for disease prevention
How to get toned with yoga
Couples fitness: Tips for going on an exercise date

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