I recently had the pleasure to spend sometime traveling overseas where I noticed a unanimous public dedication to physical health. Aside from the visually brighter colors of food and more vibrant flavors, the health conscious epidemic seems to flow beyond the perimeters of a plate over to the streets. At every hour of the day, I found people exercising outdoors throughout the city. Of course, despite the fact that jogging by the coastlines does create a desirable setting to burn some calories, these locals may be on to something. The public beaches provided bench presses and pull-up bars for a total body workout experience. Maybe we should petition our local governments to install more exercise tools in public areas?
Multiple studies indicate that there are numerous benefits to ditching the trusted ol’ treadmill for getting back to the basics- the outdoors. The health benefits of exercising outside are undeniable; they boost mental and physical health, ultimately upgrading and transforming your well-being.
You can burn more calories outside:
"Resistance from the wind when running or cycling outdoors means you often burn more calories than if you were indoors," says Simon Cowen, Fitness First PT Ambassador. Moreover, the unpredictable uneven ground and obstacles make push your body to work harder, as it responds to the unknown – he continues.
His point essentially emphasizes that you don’t even have to change your workout regimen to burn more calories, just the scenery.
It increases your mood:
There are countless studies proving the linear connection between outdoor activity and the reduction of stress levels. Fresh air partnered with an increased flow of oxygen helps release serotonin - the “happy” feel-good chemical in your brain. Meaning outdoor activity not only helps improve your fitness but also puts you in a better mood.
Keeps you motivated longer:
Let’s be real, we all get discouraged. No matter how long we work out, and how dedicated we are to our regimen, the tv in front of the elliptical can only keep us engaged for so long. Working out outside keeps things interesting because you see different people and different places every day. Each session is like a fingerprint, as it has its own individual and unique experience.
Forget the membership, get fit for free:
The world can be your gym, without a dime spent. All you have to do is look for items that can be used as a workout assist. Simon says “Hill sprints are a great way of getting maximum results, particularly as sprints are one of the most effective ways to burn fat. Short, sharp bursts of movement at an incline will help you push to the limit. You can use a bench to triceps or step-ups. Or even get creative with a tree, by aiming to touch the highest branch you can reach with running jumps. The world is your oyster when it comes to staying fit, it’s just matter of your own creativity!