Many of us use fitness classes or indoor exercise equipment (like treadmills) over the winter months to keep our energy levels up and to keep fit. With spring starting to roll in, the sunshine and fresh air make being active outdoors much more enjoyable.
If you’re getting ready to move your physical activity routine from indoors to outdoors remember, there are slight variations in these different settings that could cause discomforts and injuries. Here’s advice on making a smooth transition from indoors to outdoors.
1. From a controlled environment to the unexpected: If you use heartrate to gauge your indoor workouts, several factors could influence your numbers outdoors. Maintain your training zones by keeping in mind:
- There is no wind cooling you down indoors so your heart rate might be higher for a given speed than it would be outdoors (especially if the room you’re working out in is hot).
- Outdoor factors such as a strong headwind or hilly terrain can also raise your heart rate. Adjust your pace accordingly to stay within your training zones.
2. From treadmill to trail: Treadmills are built to absorb your impact, so abruptly transitioning to the hard pavement outdoors can cause stress fractures on your bones (mini breaks caused by repetitive strain). Minimize your risk of stress fractures by running on trails or rubberized tracks then gradually increase the amount of time on pavement.
3. From stationary cycling to pedaling places: Keeping your legs spinning is easy when cycling indoors as there aren’t many distractions. This is in contrast to the outdoors (beautiful scenery, vehicles, pedestrians, etc.). Avoid letting your cadence (pedal turns per minute) drop once you hit hills or a headwind – try to keep your cadence between 80-100. This puts less strain on tendons, and decreases muscle fatigue. A simple bike computer can tell you cadence, distance, and speed!
As you move your winter physical activity routine out from hibernation, also remember to check over your equipment – use our checklist!
Do you have other questions or concerns about transitioning your physical activity routine from indoors to outdoors? The qualified exercise professionals at the Physical Activity Line are happy to help; give us a shout at 1-877-725-1149.
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