Now that the weather is getting warmer, I crave to be outside more. After all, during the week I spend most of my time indoors since I work in an office and I have a long commute, which means many hours per day trapped in a car. Simply opening the car windows doesn't satisfy me because of the truck traffic! I hate smelling the fumes.
Turns out, getting outside also has health benefits. A new study shows there are measurable physical benefits from fully engaging your senses in the great outdoors. Forest dirt microbes are linked to a healthy immune systems, and inhaling cypress tree compounds reduces stress hormones and blood pressure. Also, birdsong supports neuron brain health. (Source: Delicious Living).
Combining being outside and getting in some exercise is a great combination. But it may be difficult to think about what type of exercise can be done outside beyond simply walking or running. Don't get me wrong, walking and running are great activities to do outside, but I have a few other thoughts about what type of exercises can be done outside.
Here are 5 of my favorite exercises to do outside:
1) BIKE RIDE
Better yet, give yourself a destination to go to on the bike! Maybe you have a farmers market close by or maybe there is a bike path that you can ride. Having a plan for your bike ride can motivate you as well as give measurable results. For example, if the farmers market is 8 miles away, one way, you can calculate how many calories you burned by noting the time you left and the time you got there. Plus, you can stock up on veggies for the week!
All you need is your yoga mat or a beach towel to practice yoga. Even better, if you are a beginner or experienced but need guidance on a flow, you can listen to a podcast to practice. There are free pod casts that differ in length and focus. Yoga Journal has a yoga podcast with practices that are under 25 minutes and they are highly focused on a particular area of the body. I recommend listening to the podcast before practicing it outside. That way you are familiar with the pose(s) you'll be practicing and can enjoy the outdoors without being stressed about listening to the podcast.
If doing yoga by listening to a podcast doesn't work for you, look to the local yoga studios in your area for outdoor classes. I live by the beach and there is always a class happening on the beach. Usually, the classes are a reduced fee compared to the fees charged at a studio.
I like to hike because you get the chance to be in nature plus add a little more intensity than if you are just walking. I look for public parks that have hiking trails since there will be other people around in case you have an issue. Or better yet, bring a friend or family member with you to hike. If no one is interested, just let your family or friends know where you are going. When I hike, I make sure to bring water with me and I keep track of time. Remember, how long you hike in one direction, you'll have to hike that far to get back!
Obviously, you have to have water somewhere around where you live if you are going to do this. I like Kayaking and Canoeing because of how the upper body has to work. My upper body doesn't have that much strength so I have to look for ways to improve that area. Kayaking can be intense depending on the body of water you are on. A river may have a strong current in one direction and an easier one in the other direction. Again, I try to pace myself by noting the time to ensure I have enough energy to finish what I started.
5) SWIMMING/PADDLE BOARDING
Swimming may need to wait until it gets a little bit warmer for some of us but it is great exercise. So is paddle boarding. Swimming gives a great overall workout since it is cardio and resistance training all in one. You can burn (depending on your weight and speed) anywhere from 400 - 600 calories in one hour. When paddle boarding, you can burn 350 - 450 calories in an hour. Paddle boarding for me is another great way to get in an upper body workout as well as strengthening the core. Since you have to keep your balance and stay upright, your abdominal muscles are always working!
I hope this post inspired you to try some outdoor activities as the weather gets warmer. If you try any of the above, let me know how it worked out for you. Remember, it only takes 21 days to make a healthy habit. Let the warm weather help create your outdoor routine! If you'd like more healthy living tips for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.