Benefits of Outdoor Exercise
Fitness enthusiasts have recently started to embrace the beauty and benefits of outdoor workouts. This trend is driven by the desire for fresh air, sunshine, and greenery that can boost mental health and well-being.
Outdoor fitness can range from running in the park to hiking in nature or even doing yoga on the beach. A study published in Environmental Science & Technology found that exercising outdoors leads to greater feelings of revitalization, energy, and positive engagement.
This study also concludes that “outdoor natural environments may provide some of the best all-around health benefits by increasing physical activity levels with lower levels of perceived exertion, altering physiological functioning including stress reduction, restoring mental fatigue, and improving mood and self-esteem and perceived health. Thus, exercise within green spaces and the great outdoors may be a useful natural medicine.”
The added advantage of outdoor exercise is that it provides vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones and keeping away various diseases such as cancer.
Additional Benefits of Using Nature’s Gym for Outdoor Fitness
There are many physical and mental health benefits to exercising outside. A study (Gladwell, et al) examined these benefits and offered recommendations.
Benefits of Exercising Outdoors
- Increased activity levels
- Lowered perceived exertion (We work out harder without feeling like we are!)
- Stress reduction
- Restores mental fatigue
- Increases mood
- Increases self-esteem
- Increases perceived health
The authors concluded it benefits our health and environment to preserve green space. They recommend:
- Ensure urban parks are maintained
- Provide more open play areas for a wide range of sports and increased opportunities for exercise
We all know we can get outdoor cardio exercise by walking, running, hiking, biking, and playing outdoor sports. Think outside the box and enjoy outdoor exercise in your backyard!
Try Agility Ladders and Smart Hurdles for Your Outdoor Fitness
Agility ladders are portable and weather resistant. They can be used for speed and agility training, HIIT workouts, and anything else you can imagine! Our Smart Modular Agility Ladder can be used indoors or outdoors. The ladder has a patented snapping system to connect multiple ladders in a variety of widths and patterns. Or, snap the ladders together for extra length!
Give these agility ladder exercises a try:
- 1 foot in each square
- 2 feet in each square – hops
- in-in-out-out (start with feet on either side of the ladder)
Smart Hurdles help athletes of all levels improve agility and range of motion. They can be used for lateral and over/under drills. The hurdles come in five sizes and have a unique 3-point base to help athletes avoid stepping on them!
- Over the bar, under the bar
- Leg swings from the side
- step overs
Move agility ladders and hurdles to your outdoor fitness routine to kick up your workout and mental health!
Get Outdoors with Beach Fitness
Heading to the beach for your next vacation?
There is something to be said for sticking to a fitness routine, but when you’re on vacation, a routine is usually thrown out the window (that’s the point, right?)
Keeping active while on vacation might look a little different, and instead of worrying that you are not getting in your 5-mile run, or your standard Tuesday strength session, embrace the opportunity to try something different.
Maybe the area you are traveling to has fantastic MTB trails. Find a rental, and hit the single tracks! Or, check out the local trails to get in your hike or run instead of the treadmill.
If you are traveling with your children, it’s a great time to include them in activities. Of course, hitting the hotel pool is usually an easy sell for kids. If you commit to jumping in, instead of soaking in the hot tub, you might burn up some extra energy, and work muscles in a different way. Incorporating “play” into a workout regimen can be good for the mind, as well as the body.
If your travel destination includes a beach, one can’t argue that it makes a pretty great place for a workout. Whether running on the sand (extra leg challenge!), yoga, or maybe a high-energy game of beach volleyball, the beach not only makes for a beautiful backdrop but creates opportunities for extra challenges.
Easy On the Go Fitness Gear
You can always throw some easy-to-pack fitness equipment in your beach bag. Fitness cables can give you endless ways to bring strength training to the beach. Or try a medicine ball toss by the beach. Your stabilizer muscles will get an extra workout trying to keep even-keeled on the sand! Set out an agility ladder and do some barefoot coordination training. All of these products are easy to travel with (and the sand washes off pretty easily too.)
Introducing your kids to these products on the beach makes for a fun workout, and sets a good example of incorporating activity into everyday living.
Make sure you have a firm grip on your fitness cables and that you have a good footing. This can be difficult in the sand so assuring that the cables are under the center of your foot will give you the best chance for a smooth workout.
Raise to a standing position with arms pressed upward. Repeat for 10 reps. Enjoy the scenery and repeat 3 times.
Beach Boot Camp
Throw a resistance band in your suitcase and you’ll be ready for a beach boot camp for fun (and fitness) in the sun!
Choose a combination of strength and cardio exercises from the list below. You can focus on upper or lower-body exercises or include both for a full-body workout. As always, start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down. Try 10 reps of each and alternate to get a full-body workout.
Strength – With Resistance Band
- Biceps Curls with Squats
- Lat Pull-downs
- Triceps Extensions
- Woodchoppers with Side Lunges
- Lateral Walks in Squat or Standing
- Alternating Leg Extensions to back, diagonal, and side
Strength – Body Weight (on a towel)
- Triceps Push-ups
- Side Hovers
*Take caution when exercising on uneven surfaces. You may want to work in an area with firm sand.
- Crab Walks
- Jumping Jacks
- High Knees
- Lunge Walks
- Mountain Climbers (on a towel)
Looking for more vacation workout ideas? Create your own triathlon as a way to exercise and sightsee at the same time! Choose from kayaking, stand-up paddleboard, biking, swimming, or running! You’ll feel great plus you’ll get a better flavor for your surroundings!
Enjoy this Beach Boot Camp. All you need is a resistance band, towel, and water… and don’t forget the sunscreen!
The Great Outdoors Awaits
Outdoor fitness is not just a passing trend – it is a transformative lifestyle choice that offers countless benefits for both physical and mental well-being. As more people discover the joys of exercising in nature’s gym, they are experiencing improved mood, increased energy levels, and enhanced overall health.
From hiking and biking to yoga and boot camps, there are endless opportunities to get fit while enjoying the beauty and serenity of the great outdoors. So why wait? Step outside, embrace the natural world as your gym, and unlock a whole new level of fitness and happiness today!