Ditch the Gym and Go Alfresco

I?ve had such a huge craving for alfresco lately. I get one taste of it and just can?t stay away. What?s alfresco, you ask? No, it?s not some carb-loaded Italian dish (but that?d be great too.) Alfresco is exercise sans the gym, treadmill, StairMaster, etc. It?s stripped down, outdoors exercise that can help add some variety to your workout routine.

Get out of the gym!

Take a break from the bench or your Gazelle for once and try some alfresco exercise. Performing the same weightlifting and/or cardio exercise over and over again will not only bore you to death, but you?ll plateau. Kickstart your routine with some alfresco workouts.

Sure, you can program your treadmill to simulate cross country runs, but this only offers forward and upward movements. You can really get your body fired running outside and performing a cardio routine designed by nature, not Precor. Running up hills through different surfaces will help improve your backwards and lateral movements. While you?re out, you can pick up some weights along the way (logs, tree limbs) and incorporate some body weight exercise.

The gym?s got the big toys, but you can get just as good a workout at the playground or park. Find an open bench and use them to assist you in push-ups or dips. Stretch out and practice pull-ups on the monkey bars. Do some calf raises on the curb. The outdoors is your new 24 hour fitness center.

Don?t mind a little sand in your hair or? Hit the beach for some killer alfresco exercise. Working out on sand increases the resistance in your movements. Do some high jumps on the sand. Go power skipping along the shore.? Don?t mind green-stained feet? Take a barefoot walk in the morning. This will help balance your body temperature and improve blood circulation, which is great for cardio workouts.

Alfresco exercise can be as extreme as you want it to be. Play a simple outdoor volleyball game with your friends to increase your muscle strength and body endurance, or go rock climbing and improve your hand-eye coordination and balance. Whatever gets you moving in a non-restricted fashion outdoors is alfresco-approved.

Beyond giving your body a wake-up call, alfresco exercise offers other perks. For one, it doesn?t cost $40 a month to visit the park or run around your neighborhood. You can drop the gym altogether and have more money to spend taking your girlfriend out or feeding your Xbox habit. And whether you love the beauty and splendor of nature or just can?t take the BO smell at the gym anymore, alfresco exercise is just what you need. Enjoy an intense, full-body workout with a picturesque view of the forest and the calming silence of nature. Sure beats the grating grunts of gym rats and the sight of dumpy butts on the row of ellipticals in front of you.

Be sure to take precaution and practice safety while exercising alfresco. The gym offers a controlled environment, free from passing cars and adverse weather. You won?t benefit from outdoors exercise if you?re frostbitten and/or hit by an oncoming Accord. Dress appropriately and keep an eye out on your surroundings at all times.

Challenge your body and beat workout boredom with alfresco exercise. Whether you go power cycling or take a swim in a nearby lake, you?ll be saving money, treating yourself to awesome views and reaching new levels of fitness. Just bring an iPod along if you miss the gym?s Journey/Styx playlist.

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About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.

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