Nature’s Gym: Going Out for your Workout

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Pure Austin is the indoor gym for outdoor people. I am (obviously) a huge proponent of what indoor training can do for your long-term health and happiness. But all training should not be done in the gym. This month, let’s take it outside. And in honor of our pets issue, if you have a dog, he can come, too.

Start your outdoor workout with a stroll or light jog for 10 minutes or so, just to warm up. Then pick up the pace with a few higher intensity intervals. On a scale of one to 10, bring your effort up to about a seven for 200 yards, or one-tenth of a mile. Do this four times, resting in between each effort for twice as long as it took you to do the interval. By the end of this (and probably before it) you should start to feel the burn.

On to lateral shuffles. Shuffle sideways, alternating sides every 50 yards or so. Do this three times on each side. If your pup is along with you, prepare for him to be really confused. But keep with it. Your pup will catch on eventually.

Next up is leg work. If you have healthy knees and feel comfortable doing them, perform some walking lunges. Do two sets of 50 yards each, with a quick break in between each set. If your knees aren’t feeling so healthy, then it’s time to step on that leash and bang out 25 squats. Squat down to just above where your butt is level with your knees, or as deep as you feel comfortable. Feel that burn. Now get back to jogging for another five minutes.

Are you reading to rock your core? Hopefully your pup is amenable to this next one. Find a relatively clean patch of earth, and get into push-up position. Perform one push up, then three or five more. Now rotate your feet and body so you are stacked on one arm, facing the side. Pause. Move back to the center, do a couple more push ups, then rotate to the other side. Repeat this action five times on each side.

Now back to the jogging again. Jog for five more minutes. If you trust yourself (and your dog), throw in some backward jogging or backward lunges. These will really fire your leg muscles and glutes.

Let’s move on to the requisite core work. It’s time for some “planks,” a great exercise for firing all of the abdominal muscles. As we’ve previously discussed in this column, the benefits of working your core rather than just your “crunch” muscles are many. In this case, you are going to get into a plank position, which is similar to the top of a push up, except your forearms and palms are flat on the ground. You are going to hold yourself in this plank without letting your hips rise into the air or sink toward the ground. Keep your stomach engaged and maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute, or as long as you can before you start to compromise your good form. Take a break, and do it one more time. You should not feel pain in your back. Engaging your core by drawing your bellybutton to your spine will help you stay strong and build a tight, toned midsection.

That’s it. Time to take it home and get you and your pup a cool drink of water. It’s summertime, which means it’s incredibly important to stay hydrated. And don’t forget to protect your skin with sunscreen and clothing. One of the ideas behind working out is to make yourself look better, so take care of your skin, or else the positives of your workout will be shadowed by the downer of less resilient skin. And if your dog has a lighter coat or less pigmented spots on his ears or nose, some sunblock on those spots might be a good idea for him, too.

If you have difficulty working out in the summer sun, flip to the L Style Pure column for an indoor circuit workout option that is also guaranteed to bring up your A game. Stay safe and have fun out there!

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