Sunday, 12 April 2015

10 reasons why you should exercise outside rather than the gym!

Every morning I flip a coin - should I exercise at the gym or go for a jog outside..I have this dilemma every morning and whilst the coin usually decides, it's also dependent on my mood and how much caffeine i've consumed.  The weather actually plays no part unless icy - I love to exercise in the rain, cold, mud and sun.  However, recently having suffered ill-health I've had a break in training and lost my mojo to getting outside - I've discovered a new love of spinning which doesn't hurt my joints, but I feel a bit 'guilty', and probably with good reason - after bit research it appears that exercising outside beats hands down in the gym…and here's why:-

  1. Vitamin D!  We all need this essential vitamin to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are used to keep our bones strong and teeth healthy.
  2. We have killer cells in our body - these little fighters help keep our immune strong, and nature i.e. plants, trees emit phytoncides, which not only protects themselves but may also help humans.
  3. Depressed, feeling low, under the weather?  Exercising outdoors can help lift your mood even if you just take a walk and ease stress, you don't have to run - just a gentle jog or walk is enough to lift your mood.
  4. Its not boring! Working out in a gym, especially a treadmill is lets face it boring - unless you are doing a sprint programme. I like to use a programme outside, where I may sprint from one tree to the next, then jog to the next daffodil and walk to the next lamppost - it's easy to mix it up!
  5. Its how we are designed to move - our bodies are not designed to walk on a treadmill, many people exercise at a 0% incline - this is just not normal - outside equivalent is at least 1%. Add in some hills outside and watch your fitness improve. I bet your friend who only runs on a flat treadmill would struggle to do the same speed outside!
  6. Different terrain - okay so I recently had concussion and a smashed up jaw from falling down a concrete hill but, lesson learnt - outside you need to concentrate more, it makes you work out 'in the moment'. Also with different terrain i,e, mud etc you need to hold those stomach muscles in - result - stronger core.
  7. It saves time - just stick on a good pair of trainers (note I said good - make sure you get some right for your foot gait), and just get out the door - its always the first step outside which is the hardest.
  8. Its free - a major motivation - save on membership and splurge on treating yourself to some decent trainers.
  9. Mix it up - you don't have to run outside, look at walking, taking a skipping rope, use your kids park for a workout - i.e. tricep dips on benches, monkey bars and press ups can be done anywhere - throw in some squats and you have an amazing personal circuit outside!
  10. Cycle - okay I don't cycle outside but thats only because i have a fear of traffic.. stupid fear and one day I will book a cycling course to face that - in the meantime check out your local trails and get cycling - its fun and a great workout.
  11. Swim - open water swimming - last year I went swimming in some amazing UK beaches with the kids - yes it was freezing and yes the water was not like the sandy shores of Dubai - did I care - heck not it was exhilarating and still makes me smile.
  12. Elements of air, wind makes exercising outdoors harder!
  13. Even walking a dog for a couple hours a day - all good mood boosters, plus you get to meet other dog walkers.
  14. Finally there are some great clubs if you don't want to run alone - but if you do like to go alone, you won't be disturbed by people interrupting your routine, like they often do in the gym - just when I'm about to hit that sprint, its just luck that someone will come up to me and say 'hi Molly how are you' - treadmill sprint ruined and so has my motivation!
If you have any tips training let me know! I'm not knocking the gym - I do both and both offer their own advantages - just think good to get out and make the most of what God has given us for free!


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