It's almost summer. The best time of the year to take your workout to a whole new level. One of the many things the global pandemic of 2020 taught us to value– our health and wellness. Another lesson learned was that exercise and workouts can be accomplished without a gym. Most active fitness participants who lift weights, participate in classes, or stick to cardio choose to be indoors. After all, gyms do have the necessary equipment to ensure a productive workout.
Exercising outside brings its own benefits to the table that indoor workouts can’t provide. We all know that exercise is great for your physical and mental health. When you take your workout outside it enhances those benefits.
The CDC encourages the planning and construction of outdoor recreation spaces that promote various activities such as walking, hiking, and team sports. Find out below how you can enhance your workout productivity by hitting the great outdoors!
1. Boosts Mental Health
Outdoor workouts can help with SAD (seasonal affective disorder), depression, and anxiety. Studies show that sunshine naturally increases positive chemicals released from the body called endorphins. When people do a simple activity like walking on a sunny day, it enhances serotonin in the brain. This serotonin increase boosts and stabilizes your mood. Sunshine also increases your vitamin D intake, which is proven to be effective for a better mood. Imagery and sound also play a role in outdoor workouts. When you hear calming sounds of birds chirping, dogs barking, or the wind rustling it lowers your anxiety. Thus, proving that outside is a great and effective way to enhance your mental health and be more productive in your workout.
2. Relieves Stress
You may not experience the joys of exercising at first. It is a lot of work and can multiply the pressure and stress you are trying to rid yourself of. But as you become more consistent with working out you will come to rely on its benefits and results. Regular aerobic exercise, especially when done outside such as walking, running, or riding a bike, leads to positive effects in your body. This includes benefits to your cardiovascular, digestive, and immune systems — by helping protect your body from the harmful effects of stress.
3. It’s Accessible
One of the great benefits of outdoor exercises–you can work out anywhere. If you have access to bands, dumbbells, a yoga mat, and some friends, you can create a class of your own. You will avoid the annoyance of waiting for machines, parking, and crowded locker rooms. You can also save a great deal of money by moving your workout outside. Even if you don’t have access to equipment, you can get creative and utilize the outdoor space around you. Check out our outdoor workout program below.
Planning Your Outdoor Workout
Heading outdoors is as simple as lacing up your sneakers and going for the great unknown. The better way to approach your outdoor workout is to plan before you go. You should decide on location, whether you will be using equipment and preparing yourself for any cases of emergency. If you’re training for strength, a cardio bodyweight workout will serve you best in a park with benches and even a playground. If you’re practicing yoga, grab your mat and find a quiet, grassy area near a trail. Regardless of how simple or complex you want to go, the best thing you can do is plan.
Example of Cardio Bodyweight Routine
- Warm Up: Jog 5 minutes (at your own pace)
- Stop wherever you are and then complete:
- 20 body weight squats
- Increase your speed: 5 minute jog
- 15 push ups
- Increase your speed: 5 minute jog
- 10 walking lunges
- 5 minute jog
- Tricep dips
- Cool down walk
1. “The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors.” Fitness Nation, 7 July 2020, https://fitness-nation.net/2020/07/07/the-benefits-of-exercising-outdoors/. Accessed 7 May 2023.
2. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress.” Mayo Clinic, 18 Aug. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469. Accessed 7 May 2023.
3. Step It up Outdoors | Blogs | CDC. blogs. https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2017/07/step-it-up-outdoors/. Accessed 7 May 2023.
4. Harvard Health Publishing. “Exercising to Relax.” Harvard Health, Harvard Health, 7 July 2020, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax. Accessed 7 May 2023.
D’Annette Stephens is the brand owner of D.TerminedFitness, LLC, a Fitness and Consulting entity. She is a certified ISSA personal trainer, NASM sports performance and nutrition coach, philanthropist, and public speaker. D’Annette is pursuing her Masters degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Strength and Conditioning at Long Island University-Brooklyn.
She is an advocate for education and representation in the Fitness and Sports Performance industries. She specializes in athletic performance enhancement, functional movement, long-term sustained weight loss and sports nutrition
Such an informative post. It will really help anyone.