It's the middle of summer, and there is no better time to begin an outdoor conditioning program to raise your work capacity in the gym. Conditioning is the part of the strength training that the average lifter often takes for granted. While it is wise to focus much of your energy on lifting weights, raising your conditioning levels must also be part of the plan.
As conditioning increases, you will notice improvements in a few different areas. You'll be capable of performing more sets, you'll have the ability to train at a faster pace, and you'll recover faster between workouts. Most importantly, you'll be doing something beneficial to your long-term cardiovascular health.
Taking your conditioning work outdoors adds to the benefits. In the modern world, humans have unfortunately been largely disconnected from nature. Today, we find ourselves indoors more often, focusing on work and home tasks we must accomplish.
Outdoor conditioning allows you to get some fresh air in your lungs and sun on your skin while giving your mind a break from the speed of modern life.
Here are some outdoor conditioning ideas you can add to your training plan to raise your conditioning levels while spending some time in nature:
This should be like hearing that ice cream and candy work for weight loss. Swimming is an excellent workout because it's easy on the joints, great for muscular endurance, improves conditioning levels, and keeps you cool.
You don't have to be a world-class swimmer or in the best shape. All you need to do is begin swimming a few laps each time you jump in the pool. It's summer, and chances are you will spend some time hanging out in the pool. Before you chill out and crack open a cold one, swim a few laps.
Try to add a lap or two each time you swim and beat your previous PR. This is an easy way to add some conditioning work into your day without going to the gym and getting on a treadmill.
Riding a bike is another great way to increase your conditioning levels while minimizing the stress on your bones and joints. Because of this, cycling is a great way for larger athletes to improve their conditioning levels without adding to the stress heavy strength training already places upon the body.
Not only does cycling provide you with exercise, but it also provides you with transportation. The easiest way to include cycling in your program is to ride your bike to and from the gym. You are getting a workout in and saving gas money. That's killing two birds with one stone.
Kayaking / Rowing
With the growth of CrossFit, the benefits of the rower machine were made clear to all in the strength and conditioning world. Well, instead of pretending to row a boat, go row one in real life. Kayaking provides a great upper body and cardiovascular-focused exercise while getting out on the open water and seeing nature from a different perspective.
You can develop courses via the many GPS apps available and work to beat your former time for each distance. This makes for a great way to entertain and train yourself simultaneously. You are also developing upper body muscular endurance that will pay off in the bench and overhead press.
Get Outside - Get Healthy
The outdoors provide benefits to humans that indoor training cannot replicate. We require regular amounts of time outdoors breathing fresh air with the sun on our skin. This is how we are made to live, and avoiding the outdoors limits your well-being. No supplement can make up for good old fresh air and sunlight.
Outdoor cardiovascular exercise will improve your physical health, your mental health, and recovery rate. On top of that, you'll improve your work capacity leading to better training sessions and the ability to train at a higher level.
Don't leave work and run home to your iPhone and Netflix. Get outside and get some training done. As you can see with the options above, there is no reason for your outdoor exercise to be boring or ineffective. The summer season only lasts so long, get outside and enjoy it.