Take your workouts outside!

by Adam Toffan, M.Sc, NSCA-CSCS, CSEP-CEP
Assistant Fitness Testing & Assessment Coordinator
Recreation Services, University of Manitoba

In Manitoba we are forced to exercise indoors much of the year, most of it if you don’t like winter activities like cross-country skiing or hockey. Many people prefer working out indoors year round because the treadmill or elliptical, etc. make it easy to track workout volume and intensity. There are a few ways around this that will allow you the freedom to workout anywhere.

As mentioned in a previous blog, heart rate monitors are a great way to manage workout intensity. Without measuring running speed, you can still make sure you are getting the same workout you would be on a treadmill by comparing heart rates across workouts. There are also several mobile apps that can help track your workouts and measure intensity. Apps such as SportsTracker, Strava or Map My Run (or Ride or Fitness) are ways to track distance and speed. SportsTracker also has heart rate monitor compatibility; however it is a SportsTracker brand of monitor. Map my fitness is an Under Armour app that has compatibility with Apple Watch. The right app for you will depend on your use of other technology and preferred methods of exercise. If running or biking are your main methods of exercise then you can get an app like Strava, MapMyRun or MapMyRide. Strava is a nice app if you like to compete with others as well as yourself. You can run your routes or ones posted by others and see how you stack up. If you do many different activities or less mainstream activities, an app like SportsTracker might be more ideal. SportsTracker has several different exercise options such as climbing, football, golf, hiking, soccer and paddling. Additionally, if you have a Preva account for the ALC, you can manually transfer your outdoor activities to the Preva app so you can continue to track all your exercise in one place. If you do not currently have a Preva account or the Preva app and are interested, ask a fitness attendant next time you are in the gym!

The days are getting warmer and longer which gives you all sorts of activities you can add to your repertoire. Outdoor activity adds some variety and scenery you lose in the winter months. Also, if you are a treadmill runner in the summer months and you don’t do all your runs with 1.0-1.5% incline, you are missing the training stimulus of running outdoors where you need to propel yourself on a stationary surface. When working out in the outdoors you also get the additional stimulus of environmental factors that you need to overcome. These factors include changes in grade, wind resistance and the effects of temperature on exercise response. Getting some sun and fresh air while playing recreational sports, swimming, running or cycling are great ways to keep active in the summer.

Take advantage of our short but great summers and get outside!