For many going to the gym is a good intention that they never follow through with. You can take this as a lack of motivation, or you can accept that the idea of working out in a gym on your own is not appealing in any way to you. If this is the case it could be worthwhile to consider taking your exercises outside and back into nature.
There are so many benefits of reconnecting with nature in this way, even if it is just a run around your block. Being outside is highly beneficial to both our physical and mental health and the extra challenge added by the elements outside can make it far more fun to exercise in the wilderness.
Benefits of Exercising Outside
When it comes to exercising outdoors you benefit from three main different sources:
1. Cleaner Air
A study conducted by the EPA determined that the air we breathe indoors can contain far more pollutants and particles than the air outside – and that includes outdoor air in cities. This happens because air is filtered through again and again but not cleaned, so the pollutants that people bring in with them (even just breathing) build up over time creating a stale environment. If you were to exercise outdoors, even in an urban area, you will benefit from fresh air. If you head out into the wilderness, however, to hike, run, kayak, camp, or anything else, the benefits are greater.
2. More Challenging Terrain
Running or even hiking on the uneven ground in the woods can add an extra challenge that works out more of your body than running on a treadmill will ever provide you. It can also be better on your joints, as you are moving in a variety of ways.
3. Get That Vitamin D
You can get vitamin D from the sun even during cloud cover. A lack of vitamin D has been linked to mood disorders and a lack of energy, so exercising outdoors can help boost your mood and energy levels.
Try Out A Variety of Activities
Not every outdoor activity will speak to you. That is why you should try out a bunch of different activities on a trial basis before you set yourself too firmly on just one. There might be trial experiences with a tour guide, or you can just head out for a short run. Keep going until you find a few activities you love to do.
Pick Out Your Top Choices
Picking out your top choices will help you stay focused. Doing too much can be fun, but progress is wired into our very beings. We will naturally want to see improvement, and if you don’t, you can become frustrated. By settling on only a few activities to start with, it can help you have fun, get better, and become stronger.
Make Sure One Can Be Done From Home
If you live in a city and do not have access to areas you can hike, run, kayak, or mountain bike in that is fine, but do try to pick up something you can do right at home. If you live near a river you can try rowing, for example. Otherwise, biking is always a great activity you can do right in town. You will likely want to brush up on the tips and tricks of city biking before you go, as sharing the road with drivers can be intimidating, but you will get the hang of it in no time.
If you can, see if you can combine your exercise with a goal. Bike to work, for example, if your workplace has a shower room. Or use your bike to pick up groceries. This way you can convince yourself to bike more often even when the weather is less than stellar.
Get the Necessary Gear
Another reason you should stick to only a few activities to start with is that when it comes to the outdoors, there are some things you will want to invest in. This gear can help you stay safe, stay on track with your goals, and make your activity that much more fun. If you plan on free running or running through a hiking trail, you will want proper shoes that will help your feet hug the terrain better than traditional running shoes.
Other great gear you should invest in include G Shock Watches, which are ideal for outdoor activities or for sports. These watches can help you time yourself, push yourself against the clock with a countdown, and above all else can handle the shock and stress you will put on it while being active in such an extreme environment.
Book Trips and Join Them
Being outdoors is even better when you have other people to go with you. If your friends aren’t interested, however, there are other ways you can meet people and go on adventure trips or exercise challenges with you. Simple go online and join local groups in your area.
Not only is this a great way to keep your new hobbies engaged, but it is also how you can make great friends you can bond with over a shared love of the outdoors and whatever outdoor activity you love doing. Adrenaline can be essential when it comes to making friends with strangers, and the only thing you need to do is go online and see what groups are online. If there aren’t any, make one of your own and see who joins.
Remember to Stay Safe
There is another benefit to exercising with other people – someone will always be nearby in case an accident happens. Unlike exercising in a gym, which is always monitored, you can easily hurt yourself without anyone nearby if you exercise outdoors. If you do exercise alone make sure that someone back home knows where you are, knows your route, and knows when to expect you to return. This way they can call for help and send someone out to you if needs be.
Exercising outdoors is fun, healthy, and challenging. It is the perfect way to get your heart racing in a way a gym simply cannot, so try out different outdoor activities today.
Photo by Andres Siimon