It’s May and the height of spring. We’ve done the cleaning, decluttered our lives and now it’s time to refresh our fitness routines.
Get outside and play!
If you’re accustomed to training in a gym, try moving your workout out of doors once a week. Sweating in fresh air, in highly oxygenated air makes for more than a workout…being outdoors helps us manage stress, super-charge our energy and boosts immune function in ways you can only imagine. Could it be the boost in Vitamin D? The reduction of cortisol from being in nature? More oxygen? Maybe all of the above.
Experts now say that when you work out exclusively indoors, you have to really focus on concentrating amid a ton of distractions, from people on phones (or you…to which my trainer would say, “If you can text or talk, you’re not working hard enough.”), music, noise, people talking. The kind of focus needed to work out in that environment requires a mental discipline that’s a tremendous effort. It can be exhausting without you even realizing it.
When you exercise outside in nature, your mind can open and roam free, drifting at will while you walk, run or bike allowing your body to invest its effort in immune boosting and oxygenating your brain. Sure, you have to pay attention to your surroundings but not in the disjointed way you do in a gym where you’re surrounded by artificial stimulation.
Now I am a gym rat’s gym rat so anything that questions that wisdom makes me bristle a little, to be honest but in truth, I notice a difference in how I feel when I return from a long bike ride (not a leisurely pedal, but a hard-pumping ride) versus how I feel after a spin class where music has been blaring with an instructor yelling over it. I feel deliciously sore after both, but calm and strangely rejuvenated after my ride in nature.
In the end, I will never abandon my beloved gym, with all its noise and distractions. I love my time there as we work side by side, sweating and straining toward the same goals of fitness and wellness. I have learned to balance my workouts however so that I have days outdoors as well as my intense workouts in the gym.
Find your own balance of indoor and outdoor workouts and enjoy this great warm weather while it lasts!