If you’re feeling a little sluggish or finding your energy lags during the day, try workout out outdoors and you’ll very likely see huge improvements in your overall health and vitality.
Unless you live in a very hot area, lower temperatures outdoors will mean your body burns more calories to keep you warm, plus wind resistance and uneven grounds add extra challenges for your body to work against.
Plus there are so many opportunities and resources (all free!) outside you might not have considered using in a workout. For example park benches, monkey bars or steps and slopes. Some parks even have dedicated trim trails that are a fun but challenging obstacle course.
A 2011 study found that outdoor exercise was associated with greater decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression when compared to indoor activity. A 2010 study showed improvements in mood and self-esteem after just five minutes of exercise outdoors. Plus, fresh air and increased oxygen releases serotonin, the feel good hormone.
Kids with ADHD had better concentration after a walk in a park than the same amount of time walking in a city. It’s likely to be exactly the same for adults, especially for people who have desk bound jobs where they are stuck indoors sitting for most of the day.
The majority of our vitamin D comes from sun exposure rather than through food. Vitamin D is important for skin and bone health as well as mood and metabolism, so being deficient is not going to make you feel your best. Getting some sunshine, even if the sky is overcast, is better than staying indoors all day.
A 2009 study from the University of Rochester found that 20 minutes outside can increase energy as much as a cup of coffee!
Exercisers who worked out outdoors declared a greater intent to repeat the activity at a later date than gym goers, as reported by a 2011 survey. Plus, the eve changing environment, either by location or simply the weather and who else is in the area around you, provides new stimulation and interesting surroundings, so you’re less likely to get bored.
Standard workout gear of sensible shoes, layers so you can strip off as you get hot, a hat and sun cream if necessary, and a drink should be the basis of your outdoor workout gear. A towel in case equipment or the ground is damp might come in handy, especially after rain or if you’re going out early when dew is on the ground. A roll up workout matt will mean you won’t have to lie on the ground, and finally look for somewhere that has resources you can utilise such as a bench or climbing equipment.
Always start with a warm up to get your heart pumping, blood flowing, and joints lubricated. Spend 5 minutes warming up before you workout, then finish with 5 minutes of stretching. Add layers of clothing back on as you cool down.
(read this afterwards too > 60 second daily workouts)
Do the following exercises for 30 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise, totalling 7 minutes. It’s an intense workout but with only 7 minutes to spare you’ll need to make the most of it. The benefits and efficiency of High Intensity Interval Training are well documented, so just because you can fit it into the tightest of lunch breaks doesn’t mean you won’t be making huge progress in your fitness!
The combination of physical activity, fresh air and sunshine is the reason gardening and outdoor team games like cricket and football are so popular. But if you’re not green fingered and prefer to exercise alone, give this outdoor workout a go and make the most of the benefits nature has to offer!