I am so excited to have Lindsey, author of Fit Life Pursuits, as a guest to share some benefits of working out in the great outdoors! Lately, my afternoon cardio has been a run outside because fall is my favorite time of year and I am realizing that I feel great after getting my sweat on OUTSIDE. As you will see, she has some pretty epic outdoor workout pictures on her blog so she knows what she is talking about here.
If you’ve been working out inside at the gym or studio for a long time, it’s time to change things up a bit! Fall is the perfect time to get outside, and there are some huge benefits of taking your workout into Mother Nature.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Mood enhancement
Taking your life outside is not just for the birds and bugs, it’s important for humans too! Many many studies have shown that nature can help reduce depression, stress, anxiety, and make you an overall better person. Just a few minutes per day spent outside can improve your mood and mental health.
4. 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!
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 paddleboarding, or trying a new winter sport this year like skiing or show shoeing. Get out there and try something new and you will be glad you did!
6. 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. The more you get outside, the more active you’re likely to be.
7. 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! You’ll be amazed by all the muscles you use in the water, that you can’t reach with the rowing machine at the gym! Taking your workout outside may be just what your body needs to challenge itself.
8. More energy
Exercise alone gives you more energy, but taking your workout outside can give you even more! One study showed 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.
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 outfit, both of which are more likely to keep you exercising! Go for a walk, a run, do some yoga at the beach, or a HIIT workout at the park bench…all free!
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. Join the kids at the playground (without looking like a creeper) and try some pull-ups or L-raises on the monkey bars. The possibilities of exercising outdoors are endless, so get out there and reward yourself with Mother Nature.
Just for fun, I made a workout you can do at the playground with your kids this fall! Make sure you pin it and use it later!
Lindsey is a Florida-raised, Oregon-living wife, dog mom, outdoor enthusiast and fitness lover. She has a passion for helping women experience life to the fullest, without feeling held back by extra weight, lack of confidence, or an unhealthy lifestyle. She enjoys hiking, climbing, skiing, and spending time being active outdoors with her husband and their two dogs. You can connect with Lindsey, get fitness training, get her book, and read more about her outdoor adventures at Fitlifepursuits.com.