After a long cold, winter, you're itching to get active. Now's the time for last-minute swimsuit training, but we're pausing before we shell out for yet another yoga class. Whether or not we're tied in to a gym contract, the weather is gorgeous, which makes us excited to get outside and start shedding a winter's worth of peppermint lattes. Here's our week-long rundown for going outside and getting physical:
Day 1: Easy Walk Through The 'Hood.
Start the week-long regimen by simply getting up off your couch. Go for a non-threatening walk or jog around your neighborhood. Find the best outdoor routes with the website WalkJogRun. If you'd rather do it while you're out in the field, use Google Maps or download the free WalkJogRun app.
Day 2: Find Your Inner Child.
Remember when working out was playing? Check out your local playground for a workout that is more fun than work. Start by hopping onto a swing and leaning back at a 45-degree angle. Support your upper body as you move your legs up and down like a freestyle kick. Do three sets of 30 kicks. Then, jump off the swing and rest one leg behind you on the seat, like a leg curl. Lunge forward in one big step. Sink down until your supporting leg is parallel to the ground. Do ten and then switch legs. Next, support both legs on the swing and straighten your arms, so that your body is one flat plank. Keep your legs straight as you roll you back up and pull your feet toward your chest. Straighten back out and bring your upper body to the ground in a push-up. Do one set of 12 push-ups. Click here for a visual of the swing push-up. If you still have energy left, go over to a bar at the jungle gym and grab on, with your wrists facing you. Step both legs forward, so you're leaning back and supporting yourself with your arms. Pull your chest close to the bar by bending your elbows alongside your ribs. Release and straighten your arms. Do 5 pull-ups.
Day 3: Outdoor Yoga.
Lots of cities offer outdoor classes for free. For example, the NYC-based Inwood Yoga Studio offers free outdoor yoga classes. Perform a quick Google search for results in your neck of the woods. If you don't find any, take your yoga outside with a free iPhone app such as 101 Free Yoga Poses. If you go on your own rather than with a class, aim to do yoga for at least 40 minutes.
Day 4: Running Parties.
We usually consider sweating to be a solo activity, but we find that running with a group provides the kind of peer pressure we need to actually stay motivated. Even if you don't normally run with a crowd, try a Lululemon or Nike store near you, as both have groups that go for short runs together. If you don't live near one of those stores, just go online to Meetup.com and search for running clubs. There are lots of beginner running groups, so get out, get social, and run for at least 45 minutes today!
Day 5: Basic Training.
Go to a park. Crank up the volume on your headphones. Now, drop and give us sit-ups! These are the exercises you love to hate, but we promise that the whole thing will be over soon. We want three sets: 75 jumping jacks, 50 sit-ups, 15 squats. That's it! Once you're done, go have a picnic.
Day 6: Fun Day!
Most towns and cities have parks and recreations departments, which means public fields and courts. Google your city name and "parks and recreation." Then, spend a few hours at the facility of your choice: pool, tennis courts, or anything else that makes sweating a little more fun.
Day 7: Look To Future Goals.
We love the idea of running a 5K, and this app has actually helped us get there. The trick is to build up stamina. So, for extra credit, today is your first day of training to run at least a 5K. Personally, we're using Couch to 5K (C25K) to graduate from being winded after running one mile to being able to run three miles like a pro. The $3 app helped us build up to running those 3.1 miles within nine weeks. We started by running for 60 seconds and walking 90 seconds, until we could run the entire 5K. The app provides voice cues to tell us when to start and stop running, and lets us build running playlists from within the program. For today's workout, download this app and go for your first run. Or, simply throw on that cute Lululemon workout tank (bought at a discount, of course) and take to the track. Start slowly, but increase your endurance with every workout. Tell all your friends about your 5K goal, so they won't let you off the hook. If you decide to use C25K, you can integrate it with Facebook and Twitter.
We like to think of it as social reinforcement.