The divide between civilization and nature is getting wider. As the volatile weather behaves erratically and constant bombardment with sensationalistic news makes us more prone to phobias, humanity appears to be retreating further indoors; slowly but surely.
Even our workout routines have moved into brightly lit, safely air-conditioned gyms, and we rarely see anything of the outdoors beyond the pavement on our way from one spot to another. It may be a cliché to say that you should probably ‘stop and smell the roses’, but it appears that this old proverb has more weight than ever before.
At the very least, you can take your workout routine to rediscover the great outdoors. If you find this idea at least somewhat enticing, here are 5 reasons to ditch the gym and exercise outside.
Air quality is better
The first thing that outdoor exercises improve over gym workout is air quality. This may sound counterintuitive since we are overwhelmed with articles about air pollution and carbon emissions, but it’s actually true.
If you find the closest patch of greenery, a park or a meadow, the air quality in the exterior environment is much better than the one you’ll find in large buildings that typically house gyms.
The recycled air coupled with repulsive scents that cannot escape the enclosure of four walls is already a hard pass, but mix this up with the idea of yeast, mold, and pathogens that course through AC units, and suddenly you get a clearer picture.
Do it on your own terms
If you take your exercise outside, there are no rules, no programs, and no dress etiquette. Pick up the equipment that makes you feel most comfortable. Check out reliable review websites such as Walk Jog Run and visit the local stores to find what gels with your style, and just venture outside for two to three hours of an eclectic routine that will keep your musculature on the edge.
Above all else, follow your intuition. Once you pinpoint the hotspot that suits you best and makes you feel most comfortable: for example, a less-crowded park, a breezy beachside or local playground, assemble your own crossfit lite routine coupled with some solid cardio. You can forget the annoying treadmill line.
Try something new
The fact that you are not limited to treadmills and elliptical leaves you more wiggle room to exercise faster, stronger, longer and more intensely, but ‘doing it on your own terms’ also opens the door for a particularly exciting aspect of taking your workout outside:
You will always get a chance to try something new. Maybe you are an introvert or maybe you simply feel embarrassed to break out of your routine when you are surrounded with gym-fiends and other dedicated fitness enthusiasts. The outdoor environment relieves that anxiety and encourages you with its ‘open format’ to try out new stuff, even though there is no traditional equipment in sight. Just put your ear-buds on and see what sort of inspiration comes your way.
Also, do not underestimate the healing power of sunshine! Even the sunray-lit streets can instantly boost your mood and make you more eager to tackle the new fitness challenge on the outskirts of the town. We are simply hard-wired to respond well to natural light, and this goes without even mentioning the vitamin D.
Sun tanning aside, when sunshine hits the skin, it promotes your natural biochemical process that leads to the production of vitamin D, which affects bone strength, muscle growth, protects from cancer and promotes stronger cognitive health.
It boosts your immunity
Scientific research has proven that a simple walk through the woods for 30 minutes or more can boost your immunity significantly. A 30-minute walk can have a profound effect even if you practice it only once a week.
Just imagine how beneficial it can be for your immune system to venture out once in two days and spend three hours in nature hiking, jogging, doing pushups and sit-ups at the dispersed rest-stops in the park. These days, these rest-stops will usually boast sturdy exercise equipment for the outdoors, so you can easily take advantage of that as well.
There must be a point when pretty much everyone gets sick of the gym. There are so many interesting activities you can partake in should you decide to give your local park a chance. Or should you decide to turn it up a notch and go with your pals for a game of beach ball, of course with a standard Custom Beach Ball, you will live to reap a yield of complete good health.
In fact, most of the foundational exercises were conceived by athletes that braved the local topography and greenery, so have an ‘organic’ workout session outside and get the results you need with the additional perk of having savored the natural splendor.
Bio: Ian Lewis is a father, writer, and a fitness nut. He’s passionate about many forms of strength training and spent years lifting all kinds of heavy objects.
His favorite quote: There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.