Summer is here – but it won’t last long! Make the most of the warm weather and longer days by moving your workouts outside. It’s a great way to spend time outdoors, mix up your workout routine, and keep you motivated.
BENEFITS OF OUTDOOR EXERCICE
Like any type of physical activity, outdoor exercise offers a variety of health benefits, including improving your heart health, strengthening your bones and muscles, decreasing your risk of illness and disease, helping you to maintain a healthy weight, and improving your mood and self-esteem.
Additional benefits of exercising outdoors include the following:
- Interesting scenery offers a welcome distraction to help minimize boredom associated with workouts, making you more likely to stick to your workout plans. Try hiking a coastal trail, jogging along a lake, or biking around a new neighborhood.
- Uneven terrain, hills, and weather conditions can make your workouts more challenging and may help you to burn additional calories. Plus, it’s easy to step off the treadmill when you’re tired or bored, but if you’re jogging or hiking outside you still have to get yourself home!
- Outdoor workouts allow you to make physical activity a priority without sacrificing time enjoying the warm summer air. It’s also a great way to explore your community.
- Exercising in nature can offer additional mood-boosting and stress-relieving benefits. Studies suggest that outdoor exercise is associated with greater decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression when compared to indoor activity.
- It’s free! No gym memberships or fancy equipment required. You can even take advantage of your community’s outdoor tennis and basketball courts at no additional cost.
Moving more AND eating better can help you improve your health.
ORGANIZED OUTDOOR EVENTS
There are likely many organized events in your local community that can be a great option for outdoor exercise. These events have the added bonus of facilitating social interaction, which can help encourage you to stick with your workout plan for the long term. Bring along friends or family members to keep you motivated, or take the opportunity to meet new people who can help support your fitness goals.
Example of organized outdoor events include:
- Outdoor boot camps and yoga classes
- Recreation leagues for soccer, baseball, flag football, ultimate Frisbee, dragon boat racing and more – explore options for all ages
- Organized running events like half marathons or 10K charity runs
PLAY IT SAFE
When exercising outdoors, there are additional safety precautions you will need to take in order to prepare yourself for the elements:
- Stay hydrated – warm and humid days can increase your risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion, so it’s important to make hydration a priority when moving your workouts outdoors. Always begin your workouts well hydrated and bring along ample water to sip on throughout.
- Wear sunscreen – even on overcast days. The UV index can be high even when the sun is not shining.
- Wear proper footwear – especially when exercising on uneven and rugged terrain, such as hiking trails.
- Bring a partner – especially when exercising in more isolated areas. If you’re on your own, bring your cell phone and be sure to let someone know where you’ll be going and when you plan to return.
- Be visible – wear bright, reflective clothing, especially when exercising in dim light or the dark.
- Monitor air pollution levels – reduce or avoid outdoor physical activity when an air quality alert has been issued, particularly if you have a condition that makes you sensitive to air pollutants like asthma, allergies, or a heart or lung condition.
- Stay alert – it’s best to leave your headphones at home when exercising outdoors to ensure you can hear traffic sounds and other people around you. If you enjoy listening to music, do so at a lower volume or only in one ear so you remain aware of your surroundings.
Keep making your health a priority. Join the 9 Day Hydration Challenge and enjoy the many positive health benefits of improved hydration.
SAMPLE OUTDOOR WORKOUTS
This mix of cardio and resistance exercises can be done anywhere – a park, the beach, even your own backyard.
- Bodyweight squats x 10
- Walking lunges x 10 (each side)
- Jumping jacks x 10
- Burpees x 10
- Mountain climbers x 60 seconds
- Sprint interval 5 x 30 second sprints
- Repeat 2-3 times
Although the benefits of outdoor exercise are clear, ramping up outdoor activity could bring about health concerns related to issues such asbug bites, sun burns, asthma, allergies, dehydration, bruises and scrapes, or joint pains and strains. Got health questions? Consult with healthcare professionals instantly from wherever you are with Medisys On-Demand. Click here to learn more about virtual care services.