When it comes to exercising, a good motto to adapt is: to each her own. Every year, new fad diets and it-workouts come and go.Â But, like with most things, it’s important to remember there is no one-size-fits-all approach to staying strong and healthy. While some may swear by the treadmill or group exercise classes, others mayÂ prefer playing with their kids at the park, or following along toÂ YouTube yoga videos in their living rooms.Â As long as you keep moving for those recommended 30 minutes a day, how you log your physical activity is entirely up to you.
If you keep your workouts confined to the indoors, thoughâ€”whether that’s a gym, fitness studio, or your houseâ€”there are a few reasons why you should consider taking your exercises outside:
Winter Is Coming
Don’t let the current mild temps across the country fool you.Â Days of freezing weather, icy sidewalks, and shoveling snow are just around the corner.Â Get outside to make the most of this endless summer (and eventually, autumn) before you’re restricted to the temperature-controlled indoors.
Boost Your Mood
Studies have shown that people who walked outside reported enjoyingÂ the activity more and scoring higher on psychological tests measuring vitality, enthusiasm, and self-esteem than those who walked on a track indoors. Being outside has also been linked to reducing stress: In one study, participants who spent time in a forest had lower heart rates and cortisol levels (our body’s stress hormone) than those whoÂ spent time in a city.
Expect the Unexpected
Although having a routine may be what you like the most about your workout, sticking with the same exact exercisesâ€”in the same environmentâ€”can result in a rut. That means burning less calories, building less muscle, and having less brain stimulation for the same exact workout over time. To prevent this lull, experts say we should change our workout routines every 4-6 weeks. Taking your workout outside is an easy way to switch it up. New terrain, changing weather, and added rest intervals for when you pass your favorite neighbor are quick ways to trick your body into thinking it’s doing a different kind of workout.
Calm Your Senses
Spending time in nature has been proven to reduce stress and inflammation, and even improve mental health, according to several studies. Plus, getting outdoors in autumn adds the extra bonus of color therapy. Hues of gold, orange, and deep purple are considered both calming and healing for the body, mind, and soul in chromotherapy.
And, if you want a friend or family member to join you, there’s no need to sign up for a Guest Pass. Be sure to check your local parks for free or donation-based group workout classes, too.
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