Earth Day started in the United States in 1970 as an effort to rally support for environmental protection, and expanded to a global phenomenon in 1990. Today, 193 countries organize Earth Day activities each year on April 22.
Earth Day may be associated with advocacy and volunteering, but it’s also an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature. And what better way to do that than taking your workout outside? While outdoor exercise may not come with the calorie-burning monitor you see on machines at your gym, it’s loaded with perks for your mind and body.
No matter where you live, chances are you have a hiking trail nearby. According to Health, hiking can burn up to 530 calories per hour, with an added 5 percent boost for hitting the trail in gusty conditions. WebMD notes that hiking lowers your risk of heart disease, improves your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, builds strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and core, and boosts your mood. Gregory A. Miller, PhD, president of the American Hiking Society, adds "Research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Being in nature is ingrained in our DNA, and we sometimes forget that."
Many gyms have a lap pool, but you can also get a great workout swimming outside. If the water’s a little chilly, that’s all the better. According to Lifehacker, cold water swimming boosts your immune system, improves circulation, burns calories, and reduces stress. If you have joint issues, swimming is appealing because it’s a non-impact sport, and it torches hundreds of calories. (For example, 155-pound person swimming freestyle for one hour will burn 704 calories swimming fast, according to Active.com), Remember that swimming in open water presents a unique set of dangers. Do your research before diving in.
Does the pain and sweat from your indoor cycling class translate to better performance outdoors? Hop on a bike and find out! According to Bicycling, cyclists can burn up to 600 calories an hour; the total varies according to your weight, speed, and time. Mountain biking yields even more impressive results, while building muscles in your arms, back, chest, and core. You get a great sweat and great views at the same time.
If you’re lucky enough to live near waves, get out and enjoy them. Surfing hits all the major muscle groups: you work shoulders and upper body while paddling, legs while balancing and guiding the board, and core throughout, SurferToday.com explains. It’s a tough cardiovascular workout, but in between heart-pounding runs, you get to sit on your board and take in the beauty of the sea. Like open-water swimming, you need to be aware of the dangers, so study up before you paddle out.
Running is one of the most budget-friendly forms of exercise because the only equipment you need is shoes. And the benefits extend beyond your wallet! Studies show that running can help prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and some cancers, while improving your emotional and mental well being, according to Runner’s World. Plus, it’s a form of exercise you can do practically anywhere.
Regardless of which outdoor activity you choose for Earth Day, complement your workout with a few minutes using your TRX® Suspension TrainerTM. You can use it for your pre- or post-exercise stretch, or for supplemental strength training. With a TRX xTender, it’s easy to use a vertical anchoring point—like a tree trunk—to set up your Suspension Trainer outdoors.
Want to share your take on Earth Day fitness? Upload your photos or videos to Facebook or Instagram, and tag #TRX and #MakeItPersonal.