Shake up your exercise routine by taking some of your workouts outdoors and soak up incredible benefits.
Exercise is essential for fit, healthy living. Whether your goal is to lose weight, build muscle or participate in a bodybuilding competition, your workouts will help you get there. In fact, exercise is said to help us on our mental health journey too. Just 30 minutes a day is needed for a positive effect that stimulates chemicals in the brain to improve mood (hello serotonin!) and boost memory and learning.
Many of us spend our time training indoors whether it be at a gym, spin class, yoga studio or at home. While these are all great, it’s a good idea to break routine and get outside the familiarity of four walls every now and then. Researchers have found that working out outdoors is associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy, and a decrease in tension, confusion, anger and depression. Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity. Below are some more amazing benefits:
1. Breathe in fresh air
Decrease your exposure to recycled air and fill your lungs up with fresh goodness. Indoor environments such as gyms can also be home to plenty of toxins due to chemical cleaners used, so opting for the outdoors will lessen your exposure. It is believed that fresh air boosts your energy and in turn will increase your physical performance. A 2009 study from the University of Rochester found that just 20 minutes outside can rev you up as much as one cup of coffee.
2. Inspire your activity – Change is as good as a holiday
They say variety is the spice of life, so why not let the unpredictability of nature shake up the norm a little. Nature is ever changing so it is highly likely that the weather and your surrounds will be different each day. Embrace it and let yourself be inspired.
3. Dose up on vitamin D
Getting in the sun means more vitamin D! Known as the natural sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is an essential mineral for optimum health. It is a major multi-tasker that maintains the health of bones and teeth, supports a healthy immune system, regulates insulin level and supports cardiovascular health, just to name a few. Working out outdoors also means less exposure to artificial light, which can disrupt our body’s natural energy cycles.
4. Burn more calories
Have you heard of muscle confusion? Uneven and imperfect pathways and terrains add an extra dimension and challenge to your workout as your muscles have to work harder to ensure stability. Ever tried sprints on soft beach sand? The extra work for your muscles means greater energy output and more calories burnt!
5. Destress and practice gratitude
Working out outdoors means you get to switch off from technology, learn more about your surroundings and admire just how incredible nature is. It is the perfect opportunity to clear your mind and give thanks for your health, your environment and the beauty of nature.
These are some of our favourite outdoor workouts:
- Go for a run
- Lift weights in the backyard
- Do a band/body weight workout outside
- Take the dog for a walk
- Do a HIIT circuit in the park
- Try some hill sprints
- Use your local council’s outdoor gym
- Get your downward dog on at the beach