Written By: Erica Quam, Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor and Superfeet Wellness Expert. Erica Quam has taught yoga to athletes and active individuals for 11 years. Erica first began teaching to her athletes during her 15-year career as a college swim coach. She believes yoga can help prevent injuries and reduce stress, while building strength, flexibility and confidence.
Getting outside is one of my main criteria when it comes to planning my workouts. No matter what the season, there's something irreplaceable to feeling the breeze on my face, hearing the sounds of nature, and softness of dirt under my shoes (or tires). I recreate with the mantra that there's no bad weather if you have the right gear.
So layer up, get outside and have fun!
Here are three of my favorite outdoor workouts to inspire you go get moving in the great outdoors:
I like to combine hiking and yoga. Hiking gets the heart rate up and the yoga brings in a meditative quality that leaves me feeling even more grounded and centered than hiking alone. Simply break up your hike - like interval training - and blend in some yoga. This can be great if you're a hiker and have a tight posterior chain and beneficial to yogis who may not do as much cardio.
Here are three yoga poses to blend into your next hike:
Warming up - Dog Pose or Modified Dog Pose
Starting at the trailhead, find a bench or use a bumper of your car and warm up with a modified dog pose. Extend the arms and legs fully for maximum length of the spine. Stretch out calves by walking the dog - bending one knee and lowering the opposite heel towards the ground. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
Going up - Side Angle Pose
This is a great standing pose to do at a pit stop: stretch your legs and groin, open up your chest for better breathing and twist to help loosen your back. Beginners can place your elbow on your knee for more support. More advanced students can place your hand on the front of the ankle.
At the Top - Vista Poses
I love doing a tree pose at the top of a hike. You can find a spot to balance or use a tree or a rock to help support you. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths per side.
Coming down - Revolved Side Angle Pose
Beginners can find more stability in this pose by placing your knee on the ground. More advanced yogis can place your palms together and bring your opposite elbow to the opposite knee.
When you're back home, lie down and put your legs up the wall for a little relaxation and recovery!
Outdoor HIIT + Run
Ramp up your neighborhood run by adding in exercises and intervals. If you have a park close by, utilize the playground equipment and leave the gym and equipment behind.
Here are 5 exercises to add into your routine:
Jumping Jacks - 20 reps
Warm up your arms and legs and begin to elevate your heart rate
Press ups on a bench - 20 reps
Modify the level of challenge by placing your hands higher on the back of the bench or lower to the seat of the bench. If 20 is too easy, try placing your hands on the ground and feet up on the bench.
Walking lunges - 10 each leg
Lunge forward as far as you can, be sure the knee stays over the heel, and press off your front foot strongly into the next lunge. This will also help you turn on muscles to make sure they're firing.
Bench jumps - 20 reps
Jump up with both feet swinging your arms forward to help with momentum. Step back down one leg at a time.
Plank - 1 minute
Set your elbows under your shoulders and raise yourself up on your toes; engage your core so you have a straight line from your head and shoulders, to your hips, to your heels.
I love getting out on the trails to ride with my friends. I've found that everyone can have a fun time on their ride if you pause to communicate and clarify your goals for the day before you start.
Here are 3 tips to ensure fun for everyone:
1. Find some mellow trails to warm-up, work on some basic technical skills, and make any adjustments you need to your equipment.
2. Whether you're climbing or descending, regroup between trails to check-in, hydrate, and stay well fueled throughout the day.
3. Watch for riders who are quiet, frustrated, or struggling. A good story from the group may be all it takes to give them a little more time to catch their breath and a laugh to change their attitude.