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The Outdoor Exercise Log Book FAQ Page and a Brief List of "Naturalistic Workouts"
February 16, 2010 - 12:45pm — Matt Kegelman
Good of you if have you taken a look at the log book. Later you can plan your own regiment out with you family and those all those people you plan to enjoy the memorable (most importantly: For Your Body!) moments with outside playing sports, hiking, riding, or whatever it is you plan to enjoy.
Now, before moving on to our Nutrition for Weight Loss and Outdoor Lifestyles Section (the second half of the weight loss equation), I’d like to take a couple of moments to address some of the concerns you might have with the plan as laid out in the exercise log.
This page is set up like a FAQ section or
FAQ page about the Outdoor Exercise Log Book or
Tips For Making Your Own Outdoor Exercise Regiment or
A Guide to Help You Plan for Healthy Weight-loss and Improved Physical Fitness.
What if I do not have time to exercise 2 or 3 times a day?
As you can see from the attachment, in our plan there are slots for 3 outdoor exercises each day...
And, honestly, we know, that’s a lot.
Most people would have a hard time fitting in three separate occasions on a daily basis for outdoor exercise (that would end up being between 12 and 18 times a week where you’d be going outside and exercising!). The great thing is you don’t have to... you just have to learn how to do whatever you can whenever you can to give yourself the best shot at your weight loss or conditioning goals. (Like right now, I am writing this, and since I am trying to drop one BMI point and get in good shape for volleyball, I am going to go do some cardio—situps, pushups, jumping jacks and squat jumps—be back in 5 minutes... maybe you should consider doing the same before reading this next section:)
... 2 minutes later...
(One set down, breathing somewhat heavy already... 30 more seconds rest... and SET 2! GO!!!
Wow, that took literally 4 minutes and it gave me a good, solid workout. My heartrate has increased from about 70 to 120 in almost no time... my body is going to continue to work for me now throughout the day—by building back muscle and using more calories.)
... ok back to the point...
Let me first state this, then I’ll show you the alternatives (to longer workouts where you’ll get to go outside and enjoy yourself) you might need to learn—to get in the shape you want!
You can do most of the exercises I’ve laid out on the guide in about a half hour. It is my own personal belief, and supported by science, that ANY amount of exercise you can do is going to help your body (by improving your fitness, your health, your life)—so even 5 or 10 minutes, or a quick burst of energy, release of strength, turning things into motion, will help out that much—and, thus, lead you toward your weight loss goals.
But it is true that working out for much longer does burn more calories and can keep your metabolism going all day long. So, yes, it is going to require some time output on your part. I’ve broken each day’s workouts into three periods—morning, afternoon or mid-day, and nighttime—BUT there is no reason why you couldn’t get in whatever you can whenever you can or do two different outdoor activities/ exercises back to back!
(They call that a “superset” in the world of athletic training and exercise physiology. It works the muscle harder (more reps and in different ranges of motion) and increases your heart rate, because you are not allowing yourself time to catch your breath or take a breather.) So if you only have an hour in the morning, feel free to walk for 20 minutes or a half hour, and then jump right into the next exercise you have laid out—maybe some bike riding or calisthenics (push-ups, sit-ups and jumping jacks), which are good for both strength training—building muscle—and cardio (or if you have to take care of the little ones, bring them outside and play some outdoor games, which are sort of both forms of exercise)—or
If you have limited time:
Cut the number of daily exercises down to one or two, but work as hard as you can at them while you are doing them (so long as your doctor has given you the OK to do intense workouts)—and try to do them for as long as you have time. (Even a 3-5 minute ab, leg or cardio session when no one is around to watch—climb those stairs at work!)
This is for those of you—you poor souls—who don’t have any free time at all:
Now, say you’re a working mother of two, and you work 5 days a week, and you have to take the kids to soccer practice and then race home to get dinner started and then after that do cleanup and the list goes on and on. It never ends!? Well, here’s what you can do to sneak in some exercises throughout the day! Think of your normal daily routine. You get up; you take your shower, make breakfast, eat, brush your teeth; then get ready to drop the kids off and go to work. Believe it or not, all of those things you do require some amount of caloric consumption (energy expenditure) because you are using your muscles. Right? Well, here’s one way to get a bit more exercise in: When you get in the shower and you have to wash yourself, see if you can’t make your arms work a little faster at scrubbing with that loofa! It’s not going to get you in shape miraculously if you do this twice a day, but hey, it can’t hurt to notice how your body is working—focusing on the muscles that are required to do each task (fingers for shampoo, arms for washing, back and ab muscles for stability). Now when you go to wash your feet, why not do a couple of bends and touch your toes? You go down to the floor and then up in the air. It works your back muscles and your legs and it’s fun! Work the entire range of motion, but do not bounce when you go to stretch (bend your knees if you have to). Be careful not to slip!
No, only joking, but, in theory...? Well, nevermind that - you probably realize that that was a bit silly. But here’s why I showed you this as an example (other than you really can burn a few extra calories by washing in an active manner, or brushing your teeth in this speedy manner [I don’t know if dentists would recommend it though, as you might scratch your enamel if you go too vigorously] which is not recommended for the uncoordinated) ::: Here is the serious part :::
There are more opportunities to get exercise throughout the day (which we can sneak in, if we are constrained because of our filled schedules)...
Here are numerous examples (find the right few for you and you'll be on your way!:
- Park a few rows further away from the office building or store, even if there are available spaces up closer. You will be forced to walk maybe 50 extra yards (there and back, possible further), which might add up to burning maybe 5 - 15 extra calories a day. Doesn’t seem like much, but if you do this everyday you’ll burn more than 1,300 calories in a year! That’s like not eating at all one day for some people on lower-calorie diets!
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you work 8 flights up and know that you are going to be a sweaty mess by the time you get past the 3rd flight, don’t fear—and certainly don’t quit the idea altogether! Walk up the first flight of steps (or a bit more) and then go through the stairwell back out to the elevator and take the rest of the way up for a breather. On the way back down do the same. And, if you work more than a few flights up, but when you first start out you know you can’t make it all the way to the top, you can challenge yourself by allowing yourself to tackle another set of stairs each week. So week one climb to the summit at the first floor. Week two, go up to the second floor. And So on and So forth—to achieving your weight loss and physical fitness goals!
- Workout while you perform normal chores. In other words, do naturalistic workouts but with applied focus! There are countless examples for this last one. Try any of these:
1) When you are scrubbing away at a dish that has tough stuck-on grease, be aware of how your muscles are working. You might be able to target your arm muscles (in this example) and do the chore in such a way that you are getting some repetitions in of an exercise for your arms, wrists and even fingers.
2) When you are vacuuming, notice how your arms extend and contract to push the vacuum forward and backward. Try doing extra repetitions—you might actually get your carpet cleaner and your arms toner at the same time! For a really great naturalistic workout, carry and lift the vacuum a few extra times into the air. Similarly, we can get added exercise when mopping, sweeping, and wiping down surfaces. Just increase the speed or the number of repetitions of your motions.
3) When you are watering the plants, fill the jug up with water... get it nice and full... and then when you go to pour the water in the plant’s container, lift with one arm and carefully, and most importantly slowly lift the watering can up, controlling it the whole time as you go. And lift it up to shoulder height, extending your arm outward. This is a lift that works your outer arm muscle, as well as your neck and shoulder muscles. Next plant use your other arm (make sure you alternate, left then right—or do a few plants in a row—then switch). Even a hose is a weight. Or just lifting your arms (see jumping jacks).
4) When you are carrying the laundry basket (or grocery bags), do a few extra lifts with it (hoist it up over your head or curl it up toward your chest). You can do arm extensions where you keep your arms straight out and then raise your hands up to eye level (either in front of your body, or side to side—works different shoulder muscles) with almost any household object, from a gallon of milk to an iron (probably would be best to do that before the iron is hot!) If you really want to get a workout while your are doing the laundry, for every load you put in or shirt your iron do 10 jumping jacks, or a few sit-ups and pushups for each one!
5) When you are making the bed, and you have already put the sheets on, try doing this tricep exercise for a moment. Stand next to the bed but facing away from it. Then put your palms down on the edge of the bed, begin to put some weight on them. The slowly, being careful to keep your balance and not put too much weight on your arms, take a step or two away from the bed. Then lower yourself down so it is like you are sitting in a chair. Be careful not to put too much stress on your shoulders. If you feel any pain or discomfort, stop immediately! You can either go down some and hold it for a short time, or go down and then up several times. You should feel the backs of your arms working—your triceps! The more advanced workout is to do “dips” where you go down and then up for a few sets.
6) When you have to get some firewood from the woodpile. It’s ok to use a wheelbarrow if you need to stack a much larger pile in the garage or wood holder. The wheelbarrow makes the job considerably easier, but try purposely making the work a bit tougher by doing a quick curl with each log before you drop them in the barrow. Your arms might not even that tired (especially if you use weights occasionally too) but you are guaranteed to cause your body to use some extra work—which from physics, requires energy to do that added work, which means you’ll burn off available calories, the food you eat will be channeled into energy of motion and heat and completely used up—it’s a simple matter of physics and biochemistry—getting in motion makes you thinner!~Outside is a great option!~ 7) When you need to wash the car, don’t go to the carwash every time! Get outside and give your arms a workout by scrubbing—anything mechanical requires our bodies to work out! Other examples include,
- cutting the grass (use a push-mower instead of a riding mower),
- raking the leaves (put down that blower, you can get a better arm workout by using a rake!)
- shoveling snow (be careful, this is such an intense workout people actually have heart attacks while doing it!)
- hand-sawing a branch or a two-by-four (instead of using a powered saw)
- hanging the clothes up to dry (you’ll have to walk outside to hand them on the line and then go back out to take them in)
- building something (kids need safe, fun places to play—build little Johnny a sandbox or swing-set and you’ll be sure to break a sweat working on it! Your kid will love you and you’ll be getting fit!)
So to finish this answer:
Here's my main point that addresses this issue of lack of time for outdoor exercise:
You can take normal, everyday things that we have to do in our daily lives and turn them into mini-exercises, which will undeniably cause our bodies to burn extra calories for us! We just need applied focus, a muscle to isolate (like your arms when washing dishes, or your legs while going up the stairs or walking to the car), and the will to work at it, to accomplish our fitness goals!
Are these “naturalistic” workouts going to be enough?
No. You are going to need to do more than just regular activities (however modified to get more out of them). You should try to get outside and do something physical at least 3 or more times a week! Great outdoor fun workouts include:
- Riding a bike (try going around in a loop and accelerating and decelerating on the straight-aways—think NASCAR, and how much fuel they burn up! Then apply it to your own workout!)
- Going on an extended walk or hike (walking around the block is a start—going out to a state park and completing a 5 mile hike is a finish! Do what you can and keep track of how you feel after each walking/ hiking session. If you apply yourself consistently, and always strive to improve upon your previous best (one block at first, then stretch it out to two or more), you’ll start to notice a difference in less than a month.
- Participating in active team or individual sports—like swimming, football, soccer, tennis, skiing, baseball, and others are all tremendous exercise. If you don’t have enough people to enjoy your favorite sport, look to sign up in a league or just try finding a way you can do it by yourself (this really works for swimming [just do laps], soccer [work on dribbling or shooting] and tennis [find a good wall and start hitting against yourself—now that’s a workout!])
- Doing other outdoor activities—like horseback riding, playground fun (especially if you are going to be lifting kids up and helping them climb), treasure hunting, golf, disc golf and countless others are really good ways to have fun and burn off extra calories! Trust us, with the right combination of exercise and healthy eating—you can loose weight and get in the best shape of your life without ever having to set forth inside a stuffy cramped gym (although it couldn’t hurt to add weight training to your regiment)...
The point is that we have a fun exciting world out there to explore and we can serve multiple purposes! At the same time well get fun, life-fulfillment, family enjoyment, as well as health, fitness and achieving a healthy weight—all out of exercising outdoors!
What are the exercises that burn the most calories?
The ones you have to work the hardest at! Someone once said,
“Fitness can neither be bought nor bestowed. Like honor it must be earned.”
And I personally like this quote from St. Jerome the best:
“No athlete is crowned but in the sweat of his [or her] brow.”
Because what is means to me is, he or she who works the hardest, who pushes himself or herself to the fullest extent of what is possible for said individual in preparation, is going to be the victor in any athletic competition (or in your achieving any weight-loss goal). Remember to not overexert yourself, and consult a doctor to make sure you are healthy enough for physical activity or to be attempting to work out vigorously. And once you have been given the go-ahead, really try to push yourself hard... in other words:
Be your own Jillian Michaels!
Find the voice inside you which will drive you onward and upward in your journey toward fitness!
If you really want to see a list of how many calories are burned in each activity go here.
What do I eat to achieve the best results when beginning this proposed plan?
This question is so important that an entire section has been devoted to it at GettingOutside.com. See our section on Healthy Nutrition for Weight Loss: Balanced Eating Plans that work well with a Healthy Exercise and overall Weight-Loss Plan.