Winter. It means, for a lot of us, indoor training. But with the arrival of spring and warmer temperatures, it’s time to start thinking about all the sweat and good times you can have outside. It’s time to bust out of your indoor workout regimen and expand your sweat-fest to include trees, fresh air and the many, many benefits of working out outside.
Listen, I know moving your workout outside can be somewhat daunting. As mothers, it often adds an entirely new layer of “work” (aka preparation) that has to be done in order to gear up for an outdoor workout. Hats, sunscreen, change of clothes (cuz you KNOW your kids will find water SOMEWHERE), snacks, toys, blankets and so much more.
But, all that prep? It’s worth it.
1) Fewer germs! Typically, most indoor spaces, no matter how often we try to disinfect have more germs than outside. They’re a bit of a breeding ground of germs and bacteria. Sick of being sick? Me too. Instead of being cooped up in a germ-infested indoor space, get your bad self outside and breathe in the less polluted outside air (yup, 2-5 times less polluted than your local gym).
2) Increase your calorie burn. By simply moving your workout to the outdoors you increase energy expenditure 5-7%. How? The varied terrain you’ll be working out on has you using stabilizing muscles that aren’t as engaged on flat terrain, mother nature can add some extra resistance (stupid wind) and temperature fluctuations will have your cooling systems working on overdrive. All this adds up to an increased caloric burn. Woop!
3) Fights depression. Numerous studies have shown that being out in nature compared to urban settings decreases depression. It’s not even the exercise part and endorphins associated with exercise that helps combat depression…it’s brain activity. One study shows that by simply being out in nature there is a decrease in the neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex (active during thoughts focused on negative emotion). Think of nature as a natural mood-booster and negative-emotion-ninja-slayer.
4) More energy. Alright, we all know that getting outside and into the sun gives you a Vitamin D blast, which not only helps you fight cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, but it also helps you battle against depression and increases your energy levels on the whole. On top of the dose of Vitamin D desperately needed after a long winter, being out in nature has been proven to boost your mood by reducing stress, increasing self-esteem and rocketing mental power (pew, pew, pew…those are my mental guns firing). Imagine the energy you can have through not only the benefits of exercise but through stress reducing, putting on your sassy-pants and having your brain work more efficiently?! Energy. For. Days!
5) More creativity/space. Jogging, biking, paddling, hiking, outdoor bootcamps, obstacle courses…the world is literally your fitness playground when you open the door and step back outside! The opportunities are endless for you to get active in new and challenging ways. I know our Hot Mama instructors are just jonesing to get back outside because of the numerous activities and exercises they can incorporate into their workouts just by simply having more space, hills and obstactles to tackle! Free your mind from the four walls and get creative with your workouts! Fitness should be FUN…so do something you love…outside!
BONUS: Playtime with kids. I love getting active with my kids and the best part is that we’re away from electronics, we’re in nature, we talk, laugh, have loads of fun and it is some serious quality time I’m certain they’ll remember when they’re older. I know I remember it from my childhood. I love that I can take my kids to the park where they can run and play and I can burpee and pushup. It’s honestly a win-win. If you’re not sure what to do while your kids are sliding, swinging and frolicking, try this 18-minute Park Workout! You’ll all leave the park feeling recharged, refreshed and ready for a healthy snack!
Who knew mother nature could be so good for us?! How awesome, eh? Right in our own backyards is a playground to get active, be role models and have fun with our workouts AND our kiddos! Oh, Mother Nature, you go, girl.