How often do you get outside? Not to walk to the parking lot to get into your car, or to go into the café next door to your office…but to really reap the benefits of the great outdoors? How often do you take part in outdoor fitness?
Being cooped up at a desk, driving to and from work, the shops or the gym, and generally spending time indoors can take up most of the waking hours for many people. Although these habits can be hard to break it’s worth considering how you can prioritize some outdoor time each day. As well as this, consider getting some outdoor fitness into your week.
The importance of outdoor activities
1Vitamin D. Sunshine is the most effective way for your body to get it. You need it for calcium absorption and in turn strong, healthy bones. Not living in a very ‘sunshiny’ sort of place? Then go outdoors for…
2The fresh air. Take a break from artificial air conditioning and get the real stuff into your lungs. No fresh air where you’re from? Then just go outside for…
3The ‘feel good’ factor. It’s a change of scenery and a break away from what you’re doing. Take a walk while you’re out. This will aid in stretching your legs, getting your blood pumping, and releasing some endorphins. Then you can head back feeling mentally and physically refreshed.
If you’re feeling run down, you may of course choose to stay indoors! Instead you can read these wellness tips to get you back on the road to good health.
Ideas for outdoor fitness
Here are some simple options to make outdoor fitness an enjoyable part of your lifestyle:
- Go hiking or walking in nature. Take a buddy, head out with the kids, or find a walking meet up group in your area. We used to belong to a meet up group called the ‘trail babies’. In this group, families of young kids would get together and go on walks and hikes in our area.
- This is a great website for finding outdoor fitness stations in parks and other places all around the world. At the time of updating this article (April 2017) the coverage is limited to Australia and New Zealand. However, a good friend of mine is behind this and I know he’s working hard behind the scenes to get more outdoor fitness spots listed for you asap!
- Consider biking to work. You might be surprised that with modern day traffic your journey could be faster on a bike! Alternatively hire a bike on the weekend or on a day off, and explore the area you live from a different angle.
Play outside and more…
- Head down to your local playground and have some fun. Playing is a surprisingly great workout and a good way to get some added outdoor fitness into your week. If you have kids they will of course be delighted, and even more so if you want to play on the equipment with them! Check out these simple exercises that you can do in your local playground, and keep an eye out for my short playground exercises video, coming soon.
- Get involved in a new outdoor sport. Check out team sports on offer in your area, or try something closer to nature. This could be a water sport or snow sport, depending on where you live.
- Search ‘outdoor fitness in my area’ and see what comes up. In our home city in New Zealand we had free outdoor fitness classes in the park available to us every Saturday morning. Here in Penang we have the same thing. It is also likely that there will be a number of outdoor ‘bootcamp’ style sessions available for you to try.
Why people should connect more with nature
At some point in your day, or in the very least your week, aim to extend the outdoors notion by ensuring you’re also in nature. Go barefoot if possible and give your feet a proper stretch and wake up the muscles that are less active whilst wearing shoes. Enjoy being connected with the natural world and take the opportunity to be fully present. Smell a flower, feel the dirt between your toes and marvel at the intricacies of a leaf. Find out about how nature can help improve your health by reading this article from the Huffington Post.
And finally…never mind the weather! There is no such thing as ‘bad weather’, just inappropriate clothing. So splash in those puddles, let the rain refresh you, and enjoy the wind through your hair.
Need more ideas for exercise? Check out Elly’s book by Clicking Here
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I write for a number of publications and generally publish a blog once a week about finding ways to enjoy a more happy and healthy lifestyle.
I also come across a lot of useful healthy information all the time. If I find something of value, I'd love to share it with you.
Also published on Medium.