Now that it’s summer, it’s almost impossible for me to get myself to go into the gym. Of course the gym has it’s place (to lift heavy things! to avoid scorching hot weather!), but I think it’s way better to be outside than in. Here are five reasons to exercise outdoors and how to make it easier to get out.
1. It’s exercise. Exercise is helps to improve cardiovascular health and reduce risk of diseases like diabetes. Of course, this benefit isn’t unique to working out in the outdoors, but it’s still a really important reason to be active.
2. It’s more challenging. Rolling terrain, wind, and other changes in the environment can make workouts harder than the just putting in miles on the treadmill or indoor bike.
3. But it feels easier. Even though an outdoor workout might be harder, it may feel easier because the environment can provide a welcome distraction and many people experience more positive feelings from being outside.
4. It feels good. Outdoor exercise lowers stress and improves mood and self-esteem, even after just 5 minutes.
Make it Easy
Sometimes it feels easier to hit the gym or to just not workout at all, even with all those benefits listed above. Two ways to make it easier to get out the door are:
1. Plan for an outdoor workout. Planning and getting ready can be huge. Maps, websites like America’s Running Routes, or apps like ParkFinder are extremely useful for finding new outdoor spaces, especially when away from home. Picking a location and figuring out how to get there is a huge, as is planning around anything else that could make it harder or become an excuse to avoid going out. Also: check the weather in advance and factor that in as well.
2. Make it social. Being outside doesn’t have to mean a solo walk in the wilderness. It can also include lots of social activities, like trail running with a bud or playing soccer in the park or volleyball at the beach. Not only does that make it super-fun, but making plans to meet up with others also creates accountability for showing up. That’s a pretty good deal.
Do you exercise outside? What do you do?