By Emily Kittle
With warmer weather finally making an appearance, take advantage of the great outdoors and stay both physically and financially fit.
"Anything that gets people moving and gets the heart rate going is good for us," says Jason Dwight, fitness supervisor at Mercy Fitness Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "Walking and running are good, but we want to make sure we're also stimulating other muscles in our body."
Check out these creative, cost-effective outdoor workouts, provided by Dwight (consult with your physician first):
1. Obstacle course
All you need: Open field, stopwatch and workout station markers (old t-shirts work)
Set up an obstacle course using things from home to mark each station. Get creative on the field, and designate areas for bear crawls, sprints or shuffles. Once you reach each station, do push-ups, sit-ups or run in place for 10-20 seconds. "You get a lot of running, walking, changes of direction and using different muscles of the body," Dwight said.
2. Jump to it
All you need: Jump rope
Jumping rope is a low-cost workout that improves your strength and coordination. Make it interesting, and turn it into a competition: Who can jump the longest? Or, jump while running forward, then backward.
3. Pull yourself up
All you need: Play structure at a park or playground
Perfect your pull-ups on a play structure. It's a great strength training exercise. Plus, mastering your body weight allows you to graduate to other beneficial exercises.