We are looking forward to summer all winter months, longing for more sunshine, more warmth, more time outdoors. Summer is pretty short especially here in Canada, so why not using warm and sunny days to stay more outside not only enjoy food and a good company, but also exercising.
Exercising itself provides a lot of physical benefits such as improved blood and lymph circulation, strength, flexibility and endurance. Being outdoors gives you more sun exposure thus helps you improve vitamin D levels unlike being indoors. There are plenty of sports and fitness activities that you can do outside the gym from walking or hiking to running, biking, swimming, playing tennis, soccer, or other team sports. Regular fitness classes are catching up this trend and there are plenty of bootcamp, yoga and pilates group classes offered in local parks.
If you want to try any, check your local Provincial park or Conservation area park. This year I’m partnering with Bronte Creek Provincial park to offer Pilates classes. It’s a great way to connect with nature, your body, make new friends and have a great workout at the same time! Check website for dates and times – https://www.ontarioparks.com/park/brontecreek/events
So let’s break it down why you will benefit doing your fitness routine outdoors:
Make Exercise Fun
You’ll definitely get happier enjoying fresh air and natural sunlight. Scientific studies published that just looking at pictures with greenery will improve your mood. If you are up for a group run or yoga/pilates class, you can make a few new friends. It’s always more fun to exercise with friends, challenging each other if you have a competitive nature or having a good laugh. This will improve your social life and you will feel more connected (sorry, it’s not comparable to chats and text that you have on the social media, ha-ha…)
Improves your health
Want to live longer? Outdoor exercise will help you with it. Connecting yourself to nature can give you a feeling of being more calm and relaxed, helping you to lower cortisol levels, pulse rate and blood pressure. It also will keep your mind clearer and more focused, helping to improve your brain health.
Forest bathing is the decades-old Japanese practice that encourages people to get outside and take a walk in nature not just for the mental health benefits but because it improves the immune system. And who doesn’t want to have a strong immune system and spend more time doing things you love instead of overcoming an illness. It’s a great preventative strategy that will support your overall health as well.
Guess what, most of the equipment we use for outdoor is very simple, like running shoes, skipping rope, mat, swim shorts, a bike, etc and it doesn’t use any electricity making it very eco-friendly, conserving energy and other resources while still enjoying muscle burn.
Improve Connections with Kids
When we go for a family hike it is always an adventure, even though we have been on the same trail before. I love an exploring nature of kids minds and I learn a lot from them as well as they learn from us how to stay safe in the forest, how to use different plants, and how animals live in a natural surroundings. I feel we are more connected as a family, there is more trust and support.
So why not challenging yourself and taking your workouts outdoors. There’s absolutely no wrong way doing it, as long as you are outside and having fun. Run a few miles around your neighborhood block, go on a new trail and explore it, or do a yoga flow or pilates class in the park nearby. Enjoy the summer, enjoy the now and stay healthy!