Whatever outdoor activities you enjoy doing, you'll probably have more fun if you're in shape. Physical training can be specific to particular sports. Underlying any physical training, however, is establishment of a basic routine to build a base of overall fitness. Any well-rounded exercise routine should include three key elements: aerobic conditioning, strength training and stretching.
Aerobic conditioning builds and maintains a healthy heart and lungs, a prerequisite for most outdoor activities. One of the simplest and most effective forms of aerobic exercise is running. Build a running base by devoting three days a week to pounding the pavement. If you're a beginning runner, start with short distances and times--for the average man, three 20-minute runs per week are an effective starting point. Over time, you can increase the distance and duration of your runs, but do it gradually. One rule is to never increase your mileage by more than 10 percent a week. This allows your body to gradually become conditioned to the increased physical stress.
You can approach strength training with a personal trainer and a gym full of weight machines, but a simple routine doesn't require anything more than your own body weight. Most men will benefit from a routine of push-ups, pull-ups, ab crunches and squats three or four times a week. The key is consistency and a gradual increase in the number of repetitions for each exercise. As a beginning regimen, start by doing two sets of 10 to 15 push-ups, two sets of 20 to 30 ab crunches, two sets of 10 to 15 squats and two sets of 2 to 3 pull-ups. The entire routine shouldn't take more than 20 to 30 minutes. Over time, gradually increase the number of repetitions in each set and then add extra sets.
Stretching and Flexibility
Flexibility is a key to injury prevention. Muscles and joints that are more flexible will respond better to the physical stress of exercise. One of the most effective ways to incorporate flexibility into your exercise routine is to practice yoga on a weekly basis. Choose a beginner's class and don't attempt to prove your flexibility to the rest of the class your first time out. Be conservative in your stretches and poses until they come easily for the best long-term effect.