Preparing for Your Outdoor Workouts

Preparing for Your Outdoor Workouts

It’s that time of year again, the days are longer and people are starting to head outside for workouts.  Of course some of you may have been skiing, walking, or biking all winter long – but soon you can do much more outside with the warmer weather just around the corner.

If you are thinking about taking your workout outside, or perhaps you have hibernated a bit and are waiting for the outdoors to really ‘ramp up’ the workouts,  here are some tips to stay safe and healthy when moving to the outdoors:


Don’t succumb to the weekend warrior syndrome!! Start out slow to avoid injuries.  If you have already been training on a steady basis indoors, be aware that running up the hill out back of the RC is completely different than the incline on the treadmill! Gravel, incline, wind, (and don’t forget the bugs) will all play a part.  Perhaps try walking or jogging up the hill first to get to know your terrain – before a full sprint.


There is a method to your instructor’s classes!  Warming up with dynamic movements such as lunging, walking on the spot, and light jumping jacks will get you ready for that workout.  When you are done, walk around until your heart stops pounding and then do some static stretches (see pic at end) while your body is still warm.


Just because they might get dirty doesn’t mean you don’t need a good pair of sneakers!  If you are grabbing an old pair from the closet that you used last year, take a good look before you strap them on:

  • Do they have a good sole?  When you press on it – it should pop back and not stay ‘squished’
  • Are they the type of shoe that you need for your activity? And the right type of socks too?  Research the activity and what is recommend before jumping the gun and buying the cheapest pair you can find.
  • Injuries – if you are running and have a minor injury, you may need to have a ‘supportive’ shoe even if you have run in the minimalist (5 toe flat sneakers) before.  Our feet change (and grow).  Listen to your body – sneakers should not be painful and the right pair can alleviate injuries.
  • How many ‘miles’ do you have on those shoes?  Perhaps it’s time for a new pair.  You can always use the old pair for painting or gardening

You have to use your feet on a daily basis for the rest of your life – so treat them well. 


I love my music – it makes me want to work harder and takes my mind off the ‘work’.  In an outdoor area this could be dangerous so please use with caution or take a break from them if you can and enjoy the outdoors!  Not being aware of your surroundings could have consequences (not hearing animals or people approaching, car horns honking) losing yourself in the music and workout outdoors could have unwanted results. 


Most of us don’t drink enough on a daily basis, so when you are working out in the sun ensure that you are replenishing what you need.  Drink water before, during and after your workout to avoid dehydration.


Dress in layers to remove easily – a light waterproof/windproof/UV piece of clothing is ideal and can be carried in a backpack or tied around the waist if needed.  LIGHT REFLECTIVE clothing is the best choice as it won’t attract the sun and it will reflect off vehicles before they see you.

SUN SAFETY – I know you have heard it over and over again, but another reminder won’t hurt!

Cancer by the numbers:

I think everyone knows someone who is affected by cancer. I don’t want to be morbid – but you are trying to be healthy by getting outside to exercise, don’t become an avoidable statistic!   Numbers matter to some people – here are THE STATS FOR CANADA 2015 (Canadian Cancer Society):

Men diagnosed with Cancer (all types) – 100,500

Women diagnosed with Cancer (all types) – 96,400

Men diagnosed with Melanoma - 3618

Women diagnosed with Melanoma - 3085

Men who died from Melanoma - 738

Women who died from Melanoma - 407

Skin cancer – is one of those cancers that we can prevent by taking some easy steps, and skin cancer numbers are unfortunately on the rise!

CLOTHING- Long sleeve shirts and pants protect better than sunscreen.  They actually make lighter clothes now with UV protection.  This is better protection than sunscreen.

HATS - wide brimmed.  Ball hats only protect your scalp, nose and forehead.  Ears and neck are the trouble spots being diagnosed more and more (especially with those out playing sports like golf and baseball).  * NOTE above – men’s cases are higher!

SUNGLASSES – When the sun is out wear them at all times!  In the car, walking to work, while training.  Glare off shiny surfaces and water injure the eyes.  The sun’s rays are strong look, for 100 % UV protection or UV 400. 

SHADE- we all love the beach and beach volleyball, jet skiing and other activities are longed after a long winter.  Get in the shade when you can, during the hottest period of the day, but still wear the sunscreen and shades when you are there.

TIMING- Latin Americans take a siesta in the mid-afternoon to avoid the sun.  We should follow their lead and avoid the sun during peak time 11-3.  Arguably I would say 10-4 here in YK, however if you have to be out then take the other precautions above!

SUNSCREEN & SKIN - sunscreen needs to be at least 30 SPF and re-applied per bottle instructions (if you have your little ones with you – don’t apply to those under 6 months).  USE LIPBALM WITH SPF AS WELL!

I know a bit about this since having basal cell carcinoma on my face 15 years ago.  I was lucky – this was the “good non-melanoma skin cancer”.  I still had to have laser treatment to remove the infected skin, and 10 stitches (for something small that no one else could see).  You need to be vigilant – WE ONLY GET ONE SKIN!!! It really doesn’t matter if you are light or dark, everyone is susceptible, fair skinned people are higher risk but cases in darker skinned people or those who ‘tan’  are on the rise because they think they are immune. WRINKLES, SUNSPOTS, DEHYDRATED UNEVEN SKIN are what is left after the tan leaves.  TRY A SPRAY TAN!!! (As a side note – we only need about 20 minutes of sun exposure during non-peak times to get the required Vitamin D, or you can ensure that you do taking supplements recommend by your physician)

Try to find a buddy or ‘buddies’ to work out with.  Not only will this make you accountable to show up for your workout, but it will be more enjoyable and help keep you safe during your workouts.

And my last piece of advice – even if you are not going far, let someone know where you are going and when you will be back!

Enjoy your outdoor workout and stay safe!!

Catherine Ardiles – BSN, RN

AFLCA – Fitness Instructor

Some dynamic stretches before your workout

Some basic static stretches after your workout: