Essential Gear for Outdoor Workouts

By (BIM) Mark Smith

Now that it's warming up, it's the perfect time to get outside and return to your favorite outdoor workouts -- or perhaps try a little something new. Here's the rundown of the gear essentials for some of the most common ways we get active outdoors.

Swimming

This total body workout is great for your arms, legs and back muscles. It can be a great way to build your fitness slowly while staying cool in the sun.

Gear essentials: If you're hoping to swim some serious laps or distances, be sure to pick up a pair of goggles and a swim cap that will help protect your eyes and hair from the chlorine. This way, you'll be able to comfortably swim for a prolonged period of time. If you're looking for a more relaxed routine, pick up a kickboard or pull buoy and try some drill laps to get you started (check out the top swimming drills and ways to improve your technique here). To move more comfortably, ditch your bikini or board shorts and get into a more functional, yet stylish, suit from Speedo or Nike.

Running

Running helps to improve your overall health while toning your lower half, abdomen and arms. Consider setting a goal for yourself or the entire family by registering for a road race a few months down the line so you have ample time to train and prepare.

Gear essentials: Finding the right running shoe is crucial to help protect your joints as you run. The proper shoe will also give you the support you need as you begin logging longer distances. Visit your local running store to get your foot measured and your gait analyzed, or go online to find tips on getting the proper shoe. If you're going for distance, consider investing in a GPS watch that will track how far you run, your pace and, if you have a heart rate monitor, your heart rate. Fortunately, you won't need much else to start your run; just be sure to protect yourself from the sun properly with a hat, athletic sunglasses and plenty of sweat-resistant sport sunscreen. More serious runners can also consider investing in some breathable, sweat-wicking shorts, shirts and running socks.

Hiking

This family-friendly activity will allow you to reconnect with the great outdoors while working your legs and glutes.

Gear essentials: Hiking boots or shoes will provide you with enough ankle support and comfort throughout your hike, while a pair of snug-fitting socks helps prevent blisters. Don't forget proper sun protection, too. Depending on the length of your hike, consider bringing a backpack that can hold plenty of water and some healthy snacks (like jerky or dried fruit).

Golfing

Swinging your club works your arm and back muscles, while walking the course and carrying your bag will improve your overall fitness.

Gear essentials: Depending on your skill level, you'll need at least a basic set of golf clubs, golf shoes, tees and golf balls. You'll also want to bring along proper sun protection including sunglasses, a hat or visor, and sweat-resistant sunscreen. The course you play may also have a certain dress code, so be sure to check with the club's pro shop before you hit the links.

Tennis

Torch calories during an intense game as you improve your hand-eye coordination, strengthen your legs and increase flexibility.

Gear
essentials:
You'll need a fitness buddy -- be it an
instructor, partner or group to play doubles with -- a tennis racquet, tennis
balls and a court, which can be grass, clay or indoors. If you're playing
outside, be sure to wear a hat or visor and bring plenty of water to rehydrate
as you play. Here's
how to find a tennis court near you.

Copyright (c) 2014 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.

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