Easing Back Into Outdoor Exercise
There are benefits of exercising outside that can’t be replicated at a gym or in-doors on a track, recumbent bicycle or treadmill. A study performed by the Pen-insula College of Medicine and Dentistry in 2011 found that compared to indoor activity, outdoor exercise was associated with greater decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression. Participating in physical activity outdoors also introduces a change in scenery, allowing time to pass quickly.
Take a Walk
Brisk walks can help you maintain weight and help prevent or manage condi-tions such as heart disease and diabetes. Walking in nature increases these benefits by decreasing depression, lowering perceived stress and improving overall well-being. Whether it’s through your neighborhood, at the park or on a nature trail, a 30-minute or longer walk will boost your mood, increase your physical activity and provide a healthy dose of vitamin D.
Ride Your Bike
Biking increases bone density, builds muscle, strengthens heart health, pre-serves cartilage and is gentle on your joints. Bike rides also significantly benefit your mental health, helping to reduce stress, ease anxiety and improve your overall state of mind. For an easy and enjoyable workout, take a family bike ride or ride solo while soaking up the beautiful spring weather. Be sure to wear a helmet and stay alert while riding.
Workout in the Park
Use the park equipment to complete different physical activities. For example, perform squats on the park bench by placing your hands beside you and sliding forward off the bench so you’re supporting yourself with your hands. Bend your elbows as you lower yourself, almost touch your bottom to the ground, and lift up again. Or, try park bench push-ups by placing your hands on the bench seat and walking your feet back until your legs are fully extended. Complete the push-ups by bending your arms and lowering your chest toward the bench, then pushing up. Perform as many reps of these simple, innovative exercises that feel comfortable to you.
Make a Schedule
Another tool for motivation to get outside is to create a workout schedule. Make time for outdoor activity and write it on your calendar, in your planner or any-where you won’t forget. Setting aside specific times for exercise and writing down your plan of action helps eliminate the possibility of distractions that may keep you indoors. Scheduling time for workouts also increases the likelihood that your goals to exercise outside will become a habit; you will see results quicker if you stay consistent.
With these simple tips, you can be well on your way to effortlessly easing back into exercising outdoors and even begin to create healthy workout habits.