MISSION FITNESS: Spring back into exercise with outdoor activities

Already three months into the New Year and those thick sweaters are beginning to go into storage, the sun is starting to shine, and warm weather is rapidly approaching as spring is just around the corner. Now is the perfect time to get outdoors with friends and family and get active as winter has had most of us stuck in a rut indoors watching TV buried under a warm blanket. And for all those who have maybe fallen off of their New Year’s resolutions, this is the ideal time to get right back on track.
When we workout indoors it is common for us to do the same thing over and over again, which can cause us to get bored, burned out, and eventually we’ll hit a plateau in our training and our health and fitness goals. Our weight isn’t where we want it to be, we aren’t losing inches off our waist, we’re still on our blood pressure and diabetes medication, eventually we just stop going to the gym, and before you know it we’re right back where we started. This is where exercising outdoors comes into place.
Research has shown that exercising outdoors presents us with so many benefits such as increased energy and enjoyment, positive engagement and decreased tension, anger and confusion. A study conducted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health has also shown that people who exercise outdoors tend to exercise longer and more often than those who only exercise indoors.
Outdoor exercise also exposes us to sunlight which gives off vitamin D. This is a key nutrient that unfortunately so many of us are deficient in. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut, prevents osteomalacia (softening of bones) in adults, helps protect older adults from osteoporosis (brittleness of bones), and helps many other functions which makes working out outside all that sweeter, just be sure to put on that sunscreen.
When it comes to exercise outside, there are numerous ways to get active and moving, not only by yourself, but with friends and family. Here are just a few ideas as to what you can do outdoors:
Walking, jogging and cycling are all great activities for people of all fitness levels because you can vary the intensity. All of these can be performed at parks, trails and around your local neighborhood. Playing different sports, like tennis or basketball, or even walking a round of golf course are all excellent ways to get outside and moving. Even heading to your local playground is a great way to get some exercise in as there are multitudes of different body weight exercises that can be performed. Pull-ups, push-ups, squats, step-ups, burpees and lunges are some body weight exercises, just to name a few. You can even take a pair of dumbbells, a kettlebell or a jump rope for added resistance and variance.
If you are stuck in a rut and haven’t been to the gym in a while or maybe you are just bored of doing the same gym routine over and over again, try exercising outdoors. With the warm weather rapidly approaching, now is the perfect time to spring back into exercise with friends and family and get moving. The benefits to outdoor exercise are immense and it may be just what you need to make fitness fun again.