The right gear can make all the difference in your outdoor workout this summer.
The days are getting longer and warmer, and that means it's time to take your fitness routine outdoors for sunshine and fresh air.
These six pieces of fitness gear will help you make the most of your outdoor exercise pursuits.
Whether you hike, bike or even swim, these devices can enhance the enjoyment and effectiveness of your outdoor experience. Devices that use GPS (Global Positioning System) technology, such as fitness watches, work by connecting you to a satellite network that helps track your position, speed and distance as you move.
There are specific GPS devices available for running, cycling and even golf. General fitness GPS watches can tell you how many calories you’ve burned as well as your heart rate (you’ll need a heart rate strap), and can keep you on track by allowing you to program specific workouts to follow. You also can download your workouts to track your progress. Starting around $100, they’re relatively affordable and are quite simple to use.
2. Hydration pack
These multifunctional daypacks are the perfect companion piece for any active outdoor lover.
Each pack is outfitted with an internal water bladder and hose that clips to your shoulder strap, so you can stay hydrated on the go—hands free! Hydration packs range in size from a simple fanny pack to an expedition-level backpack.
3. Sun cap
It might seem counterintuitive to put a hat on your head when the temperatures soar. But blazing sun hitting your head and face can overheat you in a hurry and make outdoor activity unbearable. The solution: a sun cap.
These featherweight baseball-style caps are made from the same wicking technical materials as quality running shirts and will keep your head comfortably cool while protecting your skin from the sun’s burning UV rays.
4. Hybrid kicks/trail sandals
Tennis shoes are okay for a walk around the park. But for summertime outdoor adventures sans sweaty, soggy sneaks, consider a trail sandal like those made by outdoors footwear manufacturers Keen and Teva.
These go-anywhere shoes combine the cooling features of a sandal with the protection and durability of a hiking shoe. Look for open vents, waterproof uppers, and rugged, grippy soles to confidently and comfortably carry you over rocky, muddy terrain.
5. You only need one earbud to get full stereo sound
Music can make those long walks or runs all the more enjoyable. But it’s wise to be able to hear your surroundings as well as the latest Glee tracks thumping in your ears.
6. Wearable technology
From heart monitors and wristbands to eyeglasses and earphones, more and more people are using these devices to track and monitor their active lifestyles.
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Review Date: May 30, 2012
Reviewed By: Andrew Overman, PT, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS