Slacking on your resolution to shape up this year? Here’s the good news: Spring can be the perfect time to ditch your gym and whip yourself into shape. While the benefits of exercise are well known, not many people realize that working out outdoors can be even greater for your health. In fact, studies show that going green with your gym routine may not only help you blast more calories but can improve your concentration and your mood. So now that the weather is warm, here are 10 reasons your body will thank you for sweating it out under the sun.
- Discover new places
When you take your workout outdoors, you are likely to discover new places right around your neighborhood. You may find a new beautiful park around the corner that you never knew existed, or you may discover a hidden trail that’s perfect for your morning run. The more you get outside, the more likely you are to find some hidden gems right in your community to enjoy.
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- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” and has many health benefits, including better absorption of calcium and improved immune function. If you’re not getting enough Vitamin D in your life, you’re putting yourself at risk for osteoporosis and other chronic diseases. The simplest way to get Vitamin D is to…you guessed it! Get outside! Getting out into the sunlight for just 10 minutes a day can help to keep you healthy. (Don’t forget the sunscreen!)
- Mood enhancement
This is my personal favorite and one of the BEST reasons to get out doors! Taking your life outside is not just for the birds and bugs, or strictly for the hard core outdoor enthusiasts. No, you don’t have to climb mountains, go whitewater rafting, or hike/bike the toughest terrain out there…a simple stroll through the neighborhood or park workout can be all it takes! Many studies have shown that nature can help reduce depression, stress, anxiety, and make you feel better overall. Just a few minutes per day spent outside can improve your mood and mental health.
- Excite the senses
One big reward of taking your workout outdoors is the view you get to see! Whether you’re going for a mountain hike, a run on the beach, or a simple walk through the park, your senses will be excited with the sites you’ll see, the smells of fresh air, and the sounds of nature. It will make the workout more enjoyable and make you come back for more – and it just might make the time go by a little quicker too!
- New experiences
When you take your workout outside, you’re likely to experience new activities that you never have before. You’ll get off that piece of exercise equipment you’ve been using everyday, and put down the dumbbells to experience a new type of activity that will be challenging and exciting! There are so many ways to be active outside, whether it’s with water sports like kayaking or swimming, trying a new winter sport like skiing or show shoeing, or running on a new path or through a new park. Get out there and try something new and you will be glad you did!
- Increased activity
Getting outside, away from your “comfort zone”, is more likely to make you more active. Just think about it. If you take your workout to the local park, you’re more likely to spend more time there, take a walk around the park after your workout, and maybe even jog home. You’re more likely to be distracted by the environment and less aware of the effort you’re putting into your workout, making you go harder or longer. If you are like me, this could also have its negative effects, as I am sometimes distracted a bit too easily, so be careful with this one! I tend to be a bit of a daydreamer from time to time! Ha! Ultimately though – The more you get outside, the more active you’re likely to be.
- Push past a plateau
If you feel like you’ve reached a fitness plateau, it may be a good indicator that you need to change things up a bit. The best way to do that is to try an activity that you don’t usually do. You’ll use and strengthen muscles that you wouldn’t with your typical gym routine. Trying to build your upper body strength? Try kayaking, swimming, or some pullups and pushups at your local park. You’ll be amazed by all the muscles you use in the water, and with your bodyweight at the only resistance, that you can’t reach with the rowing machine or dumbbells at the gym! Taking your workout outside may be just what your body needs to challenge itself.
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- More energy
Exercise alone gives you more energy, but taking your workout outside can give you even more! Studies show that being outdoors is “associated with greater vitality” beyond that which you get from exercise alone. Getting outside is like giving yourself that extra shot of espresso.
- Save money
When you workout outdoors, you’ll almost always save money. No fancy equipment or gym membership needed. Taking your workout into your neighborhood can also save you on gas. You can save that money for something else, like some new sneakers or workout gear, both of which are more likely to keep you exercising! Go for a walk, a run, do some yoga, or try a HIIT workout at the park…all free!
- Greater variety
More variety means less boredom. Less boredom means that you’re more likely to do it. Taking your workout outside increases the likelihood that you will keep exercising. You don’t have to live on a mountaintop or oceanside to enjoy the great outdoors. If you are a city-dweller, there are many options for you too!
So, hop on over to a nearby bench or picnic table and use it as a prop for some bodyweight exercises, like tricep dips, step ups, or incline/decline push-ups.Take the kids at the playground and try some pull-ups or L-raises on the monkey bars while they play – the whole family wins!! The possibilities of exercising outdoors are endless, so get out there and reward yourself with Mother Nature.
Need some help creating a great outdoor workout? Contact us today!