Opportunities for Healthy Activities are Endless
The outdoors is the best gym in the world! Any setting outside can be an ideal place to get in shape for life. You can learn to create your own outdoor fitness facility any place you live. Whether it’s hiking, backpacking or even working out at the park; it just takes some creativity and scouting. Whatever results you can achieve in a gym you can quadruple by exercising outdoors. If you prefer using gear, invest in portable and lightweight fitness equipment that you can take to any outdoor location.
Exercise & Work Your Entire Body
I think back to the scenes in the various Rocky movies where he’s using the outdoor elements to train. He’s shown chasing chickens, running the stairs, running along the beach and lifting logs. In one scene, it shows his opponent training with this high tech fancy gym equipment. To me, this example demonstrates that you can get fit anywhere, anytime, anyplace with anything. Being fit involves the mind and heart just as much as your physical body.
You can have a thorough fitness program that includes muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular, flexibility, mental focus, balance and agility in any outdoor setting. Even in Urban settings, you can get super creative on moving your body. Parkour has grown in popularity over the years and is a great way to stay fit in the City.
The outdoors provides the path of GREATER resistance. Our bodies are smart and will look for the easy route and the path that requires the least amount of work. Our bodies adapt quickly to exercise patterns in a gym work out so even if you’re using equipment, free weights or circuit training your body will quickly learn what it has to do and switch on auto pilot exerting the least amount of effort possible to complete the task. This is when you reach a plateau so quick and why the results people get in the gym setting eventually taper off. On average, up to 67% of gym memberships go unused! Gyms actually have to build their business model on people staying home.
This tells me that folks can get bored with going to the gym. This is why it’s important to weave staying fit into your life. There’s no better way than making it fun- and learning and participating in different outdoor sports and activities.
Nature is Medicine
Exposure to nature reduces pain and illness and speeds recovery time. One study included patients who had rooms with a view of natural surroundings needed less pain medication and spent less time in the hospital than those who faced a brick wall.
Fresh air is rich in negative ions (an oxygen molecule with an extra electron) and it’s been linked to improved sense of well-being, heightened awareness and alertness, decrease in anxiety and a lower resting heart rate
You will get more sunlight; the amount of natural light taken in daily has an effect on our mood and our physical health. Sunlight has a direct effect on the levels of serotonin and the hormone melatonin that is created in our bodies. When we have enough serotonin levels we have a greater sense of well-being – and are calm, alert, and confident.
So is it no wonder why you feel so much peace when you get outdoors into nature? When you can, go to places that are more remote. This will give you the time and space you need to quiet your mind and go inward. It’s difficult to think deeply about your life when you have a lot of external noise. Take your hiking journal on one of your hikes and write when you get to the top. I think you’ll be surprised at how creative you are and how many ideas you have.
An entirely new life can be made for yourself from just getting into even one outdoor activity. Let’s say you choose to start hiking. This could eventually lead you to going almost every weekend, traveling to new places (even over seas), making tons of new friends and reaping the mental and physical benefits!
You will get hooked on the amount of extra energy, happiness and joy you have exercising outdoors. Being physical active has a domino effect. They physical movement can actually rewire your brain to keep you in a more positive state of mind. The happy endorphins you feel from working out will stay with you longer causing more momentum in your life. Being physically active outdoors can also help with weight management.
Outdoors Improves your Attitude
Being physically active bumps up your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. This is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling. Regular exercise outdoors can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.