It’s easy in the Summer, when the sun is shining and the days are longer, but what about Autumn and Winter? Have you considered an all-seasons outdoor workout, no matter what the weather throws at you? Well you should do and here’s why…
7 Reasons to do it
1. You burn more calories.
Running, jogging and walking are much harder when you have a changing terrain and the resistance of a breeze or windy conditions. Even if you’re not running up a giant hill, there are subtle changes to surfaces that require more effort and therefore will require you to expend more energy as you move. In a gym the treadmill provides a very even, flat belt on which to run. Unless you set your machine to a constant gradient it’s hard to replicate the energy requirements of running or walking outside.
Also without the distractions of the ‘selfie mirrors’ and the TV screens of the gym your workout will be more efficient, and you’ll end up fitting more into your routine, in a shorter amount of time.
2. You benefit from increased Vitamin D levels.
We can obtain Vitamin D from our food sources in things like, oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and egg yolks. However, the best way is through sunlight. It doesn’t have to be blisteringly hot, just being outdoors in natural light is enough for us to get our daily dose of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps to regulate the minerals calcium and phosphorus in the body, which is important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles, as well as the added and proven benefit of Vitamin D reducing the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
3. Your stress levels reduce and you have overall better mental health.
Studies have shown that being outdoors with trees and grass and exercising in a natural environment results in lower brain stress levels. Therefore, improving overall mental health in outdoor exercisers compared with those exercising in an unnatural environment, such as a gym.
4. It feels less like a routine.
Sometimes routine is a good thing, allowing your brain to switch off and rest whilst you go through the motions for an hour at the gym. However, this is not the most effective way of working out. You are far more likely to plateau and become bored, unmotivated and disillusioned by exercise. By heading outside, with the unpredictability of the environment, weather and location, you are far more likely to push harder and change your workout more often, moving out of your comfort zone. Why not choose different workout spots with different points of interest and landmarks to keep you interested and motivated?
5. The outdoors is full of good distractions.
From squeaking squirrels to beautiful bird song, the outdoors provides a wonderfully natural soundtrack for a workout. I’m sure you’ll agree those natural distractions are much better than the sweaty smell of a fellow exerciser or the grunting of a testosterone- fuelled poser.
With your natural soundtrack and backdrop you’re far more likely to blast through your workout.
6. It’s easier to breathe better quality air.
Breathe in the fresh air! Instead of stuffy, sweaty gyms, exercising outdoors gives us a lung full of the good stuff. Just be sure to avoid working out alongside busy roads or built up areas.
7. It’s free to go outside!
Last but not least, it is completely free to exercise outside. No gym fees, no restrictive off peak hours, no queuing for machines or weights, just you, the outdoors and the natural equipment around you. Use benches for tricep dips, step ups, leg raises and push ups. Run or jump up steps for a great cardio blast and steep slopes for a tough run. It’s all out there for free, you’ve just got to open your eyes and get creative. Two of my previous posts highlight a few fun moves for you to do without (or with very little) equipment, take a look: HIIT Zoo: Top 10 animal-inspired bodyweight moves and My top 10 fat-blasting moves to try today
Things to consider and how to prepare
- In the summer find a shady spot and in the winter find somewhere close to shelter.
- Choose a spot that isn’t close to a main road to reduce the pollution from traffic.
- Make sure you’ve considered other people, for example other park users- don’t cause obstructions if you decide to workout with pieces of kit or off a park bench.
- Vary your location, mix it up and you’ll benefit from the change and break with routine.
- Be prepared for all weathers.
- Take a waterproof jacket with a hood, some gloves for the colder weather and a hat in the winter.
- Use suncream when it’s sunny and a cap or sunglasses to protect your head and eyes.
- Take your phone with you.
- Make sure someone knows where you’re going- especially if it’s early in the morning or late at night.
- Avoid very quiet and lonely places.
Outdoor workout checklist
I train outdoors with my clients and we workout in all weather! Come rain or shine the benefits of being outdoors totally outweigh being indoors!
If it’s absolutely torrential there’s always an easy way to move the workout indoors….provided you have a room you don’t mind sweating in! For more information about training opportunities and how you could benefit from an outdoor workout, get in touch.
Thanks for reading! 🙂