If you are getting sick of the same old gym routine, here are some reasons and ideas to help you get outside.
It’s refreshing: Taking a walk, riding a bike, or participating in other fun outdoor activities can be invigorating, especially to everyday gym rats. Try going outside for your workout, and you’ll see that eliminating the scent of sweaty gym socks and instead breathing in fresh air is rejuvenating.
Connect with nature: Generally, being outdoors can be a natural spirit-lifter. Connecting with nature comes naturally for some people, but if that’s not you, then here are some tips.
Take long and deep breaths.
Think about a person, place, or experience that makes you happy.
Listen to the natural noises around you. Then, listen to the unnatural noises around you.
Focus on your senses. What does the air feel like around you? What does it smell like?
People sometimes feel out of place while outside or in nature, but it’s important to remember that we are animals and a part of nature. The wild plants and animals don’t want to bother you, so don’t bother them. Be with them. Implement these techniques into your outdoor exercises for a happier and more peaceful workout. In one study, the researchers actually found that exercising outside, “was associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression.”
Less intimidating: Whether they are afraid of appearing unknowledgeable about the equipment or struggle with self-esteem and compare themselves to the daily gym-goers, the gym can be an intimidating place for newbies. This is likely to be caused by a social stigma that everybody who goes to the gym must be fit.
Exercising outdoors gives us the ability to diminish those negative assumptions, and just be our human selves. Adopt this mindset… “I’m outside playing, not exercising”, and you might even find yourself enjoying your latent workout.
It could be an opportunity to meet other people: Take a stroll around your neighborhood in the morning or evening; you’ll be surprised how many other people do too. People often take walks after supper to burn off those calories, or walk their dogs while the pavement isn’t too hot. Talk to them! Who knows what you might learn.
You can get your daily dose of vitamin D and maybe even a tan: The correct dosage of vitamin D needed daily varies based on where you live and your skin color, but generally, we only need to be in the sun for about 10 minutes a day. With that being said, there is a lot of potential to reach your daily limit without even trying.
So, if you are exercising outdoors for more than 10 minutes, be sure to protect your skin by wearing sunscreen.
You’ll save money: Most people who work out spend anywhere from $20-$50 on a monthly gym membership. Exercising outdoors instead can swipe that burden from your wallet.
The bottom line is that it can’t hurt to give outdoor workouts a try. If it isn’t something that you find corresponding to your daily routine, then try to implement outdoor workouts into your lifestyle slowly. Maybe, once or twice a month, ask some friends to get together with you for a physical day in the park. Then maybe, finish your exhilarating day with a relaxing picnic. To me, something about exercising outdoors is more humanizing than being in an indoor fitness center five days a week on a fixed schedule, like a robot that has been coded to do so in order to be “fit”.
Emily is in the program Mass Communications: Journalism and Media Studies at the University of South Florida in Saint Petersburg. She is also a writer for the technology based blog, the Gadgeteer, and in her free time she contributes to her school's newspaper, the Crows Nest. On the weekends, you might find her at the Saturday Morning Market working under the Mother Kombucha tent or blissfully rollerblading in Vinoy Park. Emily is a self-proclaimed fitness guru, and is psyched to merge her love for healthy living and writing together. Follow Emily on Instagram or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Main Photo Credit: STUDIO GRAND OUEST/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: lzf/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: gpointstudio/shutterstock.com; Fourth Photo Credit: baranq/shutterstock.com