Essential tips for outdoor exercise

If we’re not prepared for outdoor exercise, we won’t last a week. In this article, we’ll equip you with the keys to success.

Embracing the challenge

Creating an outdoor exercise routine isn’t for the faint of heart for two reasons.

Firstly, the weather doesn’t always cooperate, which means we’ll be running in the wind, rain, and snow. There’s no perfect time of year to get started, either. Assuming this is a routine we’ll keep for many years to come; I’d consider beginning in the dead of winter to tap into our Paleolithic roots.

Secondly, our schedules are already full. When will we ever have time to exercise outside? Let’s say we sleep 8 hours each night, on average, and work at least 8 hours a day on most days. Then, we have 8 hours left to play with, but that time is spent:

  • Eating
  • Doing chores
  • Hanging with the fam
  • Engaging in leisure activities

After all that we only have about 90 minutes of wiggle room left and 43% of that is already occupied by micro-habit, leaving us only 51 minutes of wiggle room to exercise on any given day.

Finding the extra 51 minutes

Our daily routine consists of various activities, some of which call for us to look and smell presentable. We don’t want to go to work smelling like chili cheese Fritos. Body odor is one thing we’ll need to account for when making time for exercise.

Most people shower in the morning or evening. Exercising shortly before a shower is strongly recommended. People who already shower in the morning need to exercise in the morning, and vice versa. Starting a new outdoor exercise routine is hard enough already. There’s no need to switch up our shower schedule, too.

Keep it simple

For people who shower in the morning, the key activity to build an exercise routine is upon waking up; for people who shower in the evening, the key activity is leaving work. We don’t schedule our exercise routine because time-based delayed intentions don’t work as well as activity-based cues, such as waking up and leaving work, no matter the time of day.

Changing clothes is a pain and the solution is simple. Keep a gym bag ready to go, always. When we empty our dirty clothes into the hamper, then we immediately spray our bag out with deodorant and fill it with fresh clothes and shoes for the next episode. That’s an implementation intention, by the way, that will boost our success.

We want to be able to get to our workout clothes in less than 20-seconds, like Clark Kent, who wore his Superman cape under his suit and tie.

Outdoor exercise made easy

Starting an outdoor exercise routine sounds easy enough, but it can be extremely challenging if you’re busy and sensitive to cold weather. If that’s you, then consider the following pointers:

  • Exercise in the morning after waking up, or
  • Exercising in the evening after work
  • Keep a gym bag packed at all times
  • Dress appropriately and use a lot of spray deodorant

Don’t rush into it. Take a few days to think things through. Save some money and invest in some good shoes, weather-appropriate clothing, and a gym bag, before you begin.