4 Reasons to Exercise Outside This Summer
Like so many people, you may be eager to reemerge into society. As the days get hotter, maybe you’re looking to spend time in the sun and feel your best. What better way to celebrate leaving your cocoon than squeezing in some outdoor workouts? While many of us are feeling the mental and physical impacts of a year spent indoors, outdoor exercise (AKA “green exercise”) can help improve your mood, save you time and money, and increase your energy. Not convinced? Read on for four reasons that exercising outdoors can’t be beat, PLUS tips and tricks to do it right.
- Enjoy the Sunshine
You’ve likely heard about getting Vitamin D from the sun, but how exactly does Vitamin D improve your health? Research suggests that Vitamin D can be key to fighting diabetes and hypertension. It also helps strengthen your bones, because Vitamin D assists your body in using the calcium from your diet. Vitamin D even helps strengthen your immune system!
2. Feel More Motivation
Green exercise can prompt you to work harder without even realizing it. Instead of staring at the same old scenery for the duration of your workout, seeing new faces and scenes can help you work out longer! The stimulation of being outside can help with energy and enthusiasm levels, keeping you happier and even decreasing your rate of perceived exertion. This means you may be able to crush new exercise goals without feeling like you’re working any harder!
3. Save Money
You can exercise outside for free! Money is often a huge factor that dissuades people from regular exercise, but parks, low-traffic streets, and other public places can be wonderful spots to get some exercise in.
4. Relax your Mind
Studies have shown a link between Vitamin D and fighting depression, suggesting that people with depression often also have low levels of Vitamin D. In addition to providing your brain with Vitamin D, nature can have a calming effect on your mind. Admiring the different kinds of natural beauty is an easy way to distract your mind from whatever is causing your stress.
Now that you’re itching to hit the pavement, here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of your workout.
Tips for Outdoor Workouts
You’ve definitely heard this before: hydration is key! And especially when you’re headed out to sweat in the sun, make sure to bring more water than you think you need. While you’re working out, take sips often, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
2. Don’t Touch that Towel
Until your shower, that is. It seems counterintuitive, but the sweat your body produces while you’re at high temperatures actually helps you feel cooler. Letting it evaporate off naturally will make your cooldown process that much smoother.
3. Wear Comfy, Breathable Clothes
If you’re trying out green exercise and feeling unbearably hot, your fabric choice might be the culprit. For example, cotton garments absorb the moisture on your skin, causing them to get uncomfortable and heavy. Go for a polysynthetic blend instead, which will help keep you cooler and more comfortable.
4. Protect your Body from the Sun
Speaking of high-tech fabrics…clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen are all key players in keeping your skin safe from UV rays. Try wearing sportswear fabrics, which do more than normal shirts to keep UV rays off your body. When you’re picking out sunglasses, make sure they not only look cool but contain UVA and UVB protection and block light from the top and the sides. Lastly, apply that sunscreen 30 minutes before working out, and make sure to reapply often!
Green exercise is an amazing way to switch things up, bolstering your mental health as well as your physical. Plus, exercise studios across the country are offering outdoor classes. Check in on your favorite studio; there’s a good chance that you can find a time to fit in some burpees, down dogs, or punches outdoors! Or, if flying solo is more your speed, bring your virtual workouts outdoors with an on-demand or live-stream class from Aaptiv, JETSWEAT, FitReserve, NEOU, or obe. However you like to sweat, there’s a fun outdoor workout waiting for you.
Outdoor Workout to try in New York
Hit House is a kickboxing studio located in downtown Manhattan. Hit House is hosting outdoor workouts weekly in Williamsburg (McCarren Park) and on the Upper West Side (Riverside Park). Login to your HealthKick account to receive 20% off a single class, applicable for both indoor and outdoor workout classes!
Maggie Norsworthy is a writer, editor, and writing coach based in Jersey City. Her favorite exercise is running and her favorite color is orange. Find out more at maggienorsworthy.com.