The health and wellness world is abuzz with forest bathing. Of course, being in nature has many benefits, including stress reduction. So it makes sense to take advantage of good workout weather and exercise outside. The best part about training al fresco is you’ll unlock some great benefits you can’t find inside a gym.
Read on and learn why you should add an outdoor workout to your training routine; we’ll even show you a great beginner workout that can handle any park!
3 REASONS TO WORK OUT OUTSIDE
IT’S MORE DYNAMIC
Researchers did a study by asking one group of people to walk outside and the other inside. It turns out, the outside group noted more fun and enthusiasm (and less fatigue) than the indoor group.
Going outside in a beautiful park or natural space helps you feel more relaxed and at ease, which helps make your workout feel easier. If the air is nice and crisp, it’ll feel like you can exercise harder and for longer (even if it’s harder because of the environment).
YOU’LL GET SUNLIGHT
Natural sunlight is extremely important, yet many people still do not get enough. Spending time in the sun is a great way to get vitamin D. Studies even suggest it can help prevent obesity and diabetes.
YOU’LL GET MORE VARIETY
It’s nice to switch things up every once in a while. One of the best ways is to head to a park or outdoor workout area and do a quick workout using whatever is on hand.
Without the luxury of countless dumbbells and machines, you’ll have to get more creative and try all kinds of exercise variations to create the workout you want. And doing plenty of bodyweight moves helps you get a feel for your own body and the space around you (without all the mirrors, benches, etc.).
TIPS FOR A GREAT OUTDOOR WORKOUT
- Dress like it’s a few degrees cooler than the actual temperature. As your body heats up, it will feel warmer than it really is so dress accordingly. (With that said, if it’s cold, keep a jacket nearby to put on once you finish your training.)
- Wear sunscreen and a hat if you’re going to be outdoors for an extended period.
- Bring water as there might not be a water fountain.
- Try going to a community workout area in a park — they have plenty of pullup bars, monkey bars, dip stations, etc. so you can do many more exercises.
- If your gym has an outdoor area (or a quiet parking lot), you can even try doing some stuff there. Try grabbing some dumbbells or kettlebells for weighted carries or swings.
A SAMPLE OUTDOOR WORKOUT
Sets: 3; Reps: 8 each leg; Rest: 30s
The move: Take a long step forward — long enough so your knees make two 90-degree angles at the bottom — and pull yourself back up with your forward leg.
Sets: 3; Reps: As many as possible; Rest: 30s
The move: Grab a pullup bar with your palms facing away and start by squeezing your shoulder blades together. Pull yourself up and lead with your chest. (If you don’t have bars, just do a plank for 60 seconds.)
Sets: 3; Reps: 10; Rest: 30s
The move: Find a bench and place your hands shoulder-width apart — arms and legs straight. Slowly lower yourself and drive back up.
Sets: 3; Reps: 8 per side; Rest: 30s
The move: Start in a pushup position, with your hands under your shoulders and feet together. Descend to the bottom, keeping your gaze slightly ahead. To make it more challenging, add plyometric, explosive pushups.
Sets: 3; Reps: 5; Rest: 30s
The move: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and feet slightly turned out. Place your hands behind your head. Squat down, sitting back and spreading your knees apart. Keep your weight on your heels. Once you descend below parallel, explode up, jumping as high as you can.