10 Pampering Fitness Tips
How to make outdoor exercise more enjoyable and rewarding
The motivation to start an outdoor exercise program can spring from many sources: seasonal changes, a medical recommendation, swimsuit season, or simply a desire to be more energetic and fit. Over my years of walking and running for health’s sake, I’ve discovered these 10 pampering fitness tips to make exercise more enjoyable – and rewarding.
Pampering fitness tips
Whether you’re walking, jogging, running, hiking, or biking, check out these 10 ways to treat yourself. Not only can these pampering fitness tips support your body and mind, they can help you stay on track.
1. Get fitted for the right shoes.
Shoes vary according to your foot, your form, and your activity. Starting a new activity isn’t the time to rely on the internet, a budget shoe store, or secondhand shoes. Instead, find a retailer that specializes in exercise gear and trains its employees to find the best shoe for each individual customer. The wrong shoes practically guarantee discomfort and pain.
The same holds true for biking. Though you might find a quality secondhand bike, you’ll want to ensure that the size is appropriate and that the handlebars and seats are adjusted for your body.
2. Become involved with a group.
Connecting with others for regular workouts provides accountability while making the experience much more fun. Here in my hometown, Sports Backers offers training teams year-round for camaraderie and support, and the Richmond Road Runners Club helps connect participants with groups that fit their interests and levels. Check around your area to find organizations that can match you with the best group for your needs.
3. Purchase handy hydration packs.
If you’re outside for an extended period of time, especially in the heat, you’ll want to carry water or another thirst-quenching beverage. The best hydration packs not only hold your beverage, they have slots for your phone (essential in case of emergency), keys, a handkerchief, and other possible essentials.
Two brands have worked well for me, Fitletic and Nathan:
- I use the Fitletic Hydra 16 hydration belt for shorter distances. It holds 16 ounces of fluid and has a pocket for a phone and other items.
- For longer distances, I strap on the Nathan VaporAiress hydration backpack, which holds 2 liters of fluid and has lots of storage. (The VaporAir series offer the men’s equivalent.) Nathan offers handheld hydration flasks, too.
4. Fuel up with foods you enjoy.
Depending upon how long you’ll be active, you’ll want to fuel up beforehand, during, and after. The American Heart Association offers guidelines for how much and when to fuel up. Learn what you need, then find something you enjoy based on that information. Tasty fuel provides extra motivation to get out there!
Peanut butter on whole wheat bread a half-hour before a long run is one of my favorite pampering fitness tips!
5. Celebrate achy muscles.
Some muscular soreness is to be expected and even welcomed, as it indicates you’re using muscles that haven’t been challenged in a while. Overall, though, proper exercise can help you feel better, building the muscles that support your joints and your bone health.
6. Treat yourself to a massage gun.
These handheld devices use percussive vibration therapy to stimulate nerve endings and increase blood flow and lymphatic drainage to benefit muscle flexibility, improve post-workout recovery, and ease tight muscles.
I tried the Ekrin 365 massage gun after a change in running shoes and routine caused cramped muscles and more achiness than usual. Using the device just a few minutes daily eased the discomfort significantly and helped me return to my routine. In fact, I still pull it out for routine workout recovery – running, hiking, and biking – and occasional discomforts. The benefits are significant, and the long, slim handle makes it easy for me to use on my own.
7. Stretch properly.
Stretching offers multiple benefits, from keeping muscles healthy to helping maintain balance. However, the stretching principles you learned in P.E. class may not apply anymore. For example, stretching cold muscles before exercising – which used to be the norm – can actually be harmful. So do some research to ensure that you know which stretches work best for your body and your activity.
8. Get great headphones.
While outdoor exercise can be therapeutic as a time to get away from the noise – to listen to birds and breezes instead – some people value the time to listen to music or podcasts. In fact, having an audiobook or favorite playlist that’s reserved for exercise can provide added motivation for your workout!
If you do choose to wear headphones when you’re outside, choose headphones that will allow you to hear what’s happening around you. Shokz headphones, for example, operate via bone conduction and don’t block your ear canal, for added safety.
9. Mix it up.
Plan different activities each day. Not only will this change up your routine to keep it fresh, it will give your body a more balanced set of workouts.
10. Treat yourself to a massage.
Talk about pampering! A professional massage can work the kinks out of your muscles while alleviating stress and tension.
Make a massage a reward. For example, promise yourself a massage after every month of regular exercise – that should provide some welcome motivation among these pampering fitness tips!
If issues arise, be sure to check with experts who can help. Depending upon the seriousness of the problem, you can ask experienced coaches and trainers or you can consult physical therapists and other medical professionals.
Do what you can to stay healthy AND to pamper yourself!
Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional regarding your health or medical conditions. Never disregard the advice of your qualified medical professional because of anything you have read in this article or elsewhere on this website.