Move Your Booty On National Get Outdoors Day
On your mark. Get set. Get outdoors!
June 8 is National Get Outdoors Day (aka GO Day), and what a perfect opportunity to switch up your weekend workout routine!
Now in its 12th year, GO Day encourages people to seek healthy, active outdoor lives by embracing our local parks, forests, public lands and waters.
With the best season upon us, why not use the great outdoors as your workout venue? Before we begin, let me share the reasons why you’ll want to grab your water bottle and dash out the door!
The benefits of outdoor exercise
Probably the most compelling argument is there are no membership fees to contend with. Workout for free on any terrain you wish — hills, sand, or a winding path — for as often as you desire. No need to learn how to use all that fancy gym equipment either. Nature provides all the trails, mountains and bodies of water you could ever ask for. Even tree branches if you want to do some pull-ups on them!
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that outdoor air is much less polluted than indoor air. Imagine that! Let roses, lavender and other flowers become your personal aromatherapy as your outside ventures allow you to engage all your senses; connecting body, mind and spirit.
A safe, daily dose of Vitamin D via natural sunlight is oh so important, particularly if you're overweight. A recent health study found that overweight individuals are almost twice as likely to be deficient in Vitamin D. So stop hiding inside and enjoy moderate sunlight therapy.
Most people are fully aware of the physical benefits of working out but tend to forget about the mental aspect. Whether through vigorous activity or just a simple stroll in the park, the mind revels greatly after exercise. In fact, “The Huffington Post” recently quoted a 2012 study that found time spent outside had a positive effect on an individual’s mental health 50% more than had they exercised at the gym.
Hopefully, you’re now convinced to jump off that treadmill (hit the stop button first, please)! Not sure what to do once you get outside? Well, consider these four easy, yet highly effective activities to engage in, along with suggestions on what to wear for maximum comfort and support.
Alfresco exercises to enjoy
Run a 5K or marathon
These fun and (often) themed events are popping up everywhere you look. Whether you sign up individually, or as part of a team through your employer, a 5K is the perfect race for beginners. They're only about 3.1 miles, very doable even for a reforming couch potato, and there’s usually one taking place in a city near you.
Running can burn up to 700 calories per hour. You'll raise your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and definitely relieve some stress. All while toning and shaping your body! Running also targets that dreaded belly fat leaving you with washboard abs and tightened glutes — well, OK, near washboard abs. Either way, be sure to wear proper running attire for comfort and safety against foot injuries.
Get in the water
Whether relaxing in your backyard pool, swimming laps at a local rec center or boogie boarding in the ocean, swimming is a surefire way to cool off and get fit. It offers all the benefits of a rigorous aerobic workout, but without harming your joints. It can be done equally well by both the very old and the very young. Swimming helps you stay strong when you’re already in shape, as well as helps expedite some forms of injury.
Swimming as a form of exercise is like running; no fancy equipment is needed. How convenient is that? It is also calming and meditative. The sound of your breathing, along with the water rushing by, helps you focus inward and drown out (no pun intended) all other distractions.
Want to know the best part about swimming? With your body’s positive results from all that exercise, you can turn heads poolside or on the beach with some fabulous looking swimwear!
Workout in a park
Many parks and running trails have benefits far beyond our daily scope, almost to the point where we tend to take them for granted. Visit a park today and take note of all that is at your fingertips — for free! Most parks have equipment areas where you can stop and get your exercise on. Get some quick reps in on the pull-up bar. Feel like a kid again on the swings or monkey bars.
State parks also offer running trails galore. These paved areas allow you to experience nature conveniently yet with little environmental impact. People of all ages can incorporate exercise into their daily routines by walking, jogging, cycling, skating or hiking on these safe, low-cost, low maintenance trails. An attractive and comfortable workout ensemble consisting of vibrant colors, lightweight material and well-engineered shoes will help keep you right in step with any routine you choose.
Participate in group sports
Whether you join a team or round up a couple friends for impromptu competition, outdoor team sports are a terrific way to stay healthy. Adults and children alike benefit socially as well as physically from outdoor group activity. Not to mention the pride one feels when decked out in matching shirts.
Participating in team sports and other club-sponsored recreation presents an opportunity to meet and build positive relationships with others. Lasting friendships can form more easily with those you team up with. This, in turn, helps boost self-confidence, bringing about an even greater impact on your life.
So, there you have it! You can’t deny the fresh air, the sunlight, the scenery and the wide-open spaces as a winning combination for your total well being. Truly, Mother Nature offers more benefits physically and mentally than the most comfortable of cozy couches or the most sophisticated of gym equipment.
You’ve learned the why. You’re equipped with the how. Now, the race is on for outdoor exercise!
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