If you're gearing up for making the transition from treadmill running or walking to hitting the great outdoors, renowned health and fitness website FitSugar.com served up tips on March 11.

A new study supports what many outdoor fitness buffs know already: exercising outdoors, particularly in a natural environment, boosts mental and physical well-being compared to indoor workouts. Results revealed that outdoor exercise enhanced "greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression," stated a news release.

But before lacing up and heading out, FitSugar advises easing into your new routine. Move your runs outside gradually to allow your body, especially your joints, time to adjust to the new surface. Also you might feel slower than you did on the treadmill, thanks to wind resistance, unpredictable road surfaces, and "the challenge of propelling yourself forward off of solid ground," writes FitSugar.

Opt for grass, a dirt trail, or a spongy outdoor track to save your knees, hips, and ankles. Also take it easy on hills, especially on the downhill, which can wreak havoc on quads and knees.

Keep safety in mind. Leave a note or let someone know when to expect you home, and bring along your identification card, just in case. If you listen to music while running or walking, keep it turned low so you can be aware of what is happening around you.

Try to avoid running at night, but if you must, wear bright colors or reflective gear, or attach a blinking bike light to your clothes. Run in familiar, well-lit areas, states FitSugar, and carry a cell phone. Run against traffic, and bring along a running partner so you can rely on each other if something goes wrong.

A slew of smartphone apps can also help make the transition a bit easier. Look for apps such as RunKeeper Pro (free on iPhone and Android), which uses GPS to track your runs or walks. The app measures distance, time, pace, calories burned, and heart rate. AllSport GPS (iOS, Android and BlackBerry) uses the phone's GPS system to track runs, bikes, and walks, in addition to changes in elevation and speed. The iMapMy app (Android, iPhone and BlackBerry) also lets users link their workouts to Facebook and Twitter while they track progress via GPS.

See the article: http://www.fitsugar.com/How-Transition-From-Treadmill-Road-2921548