By: Dr. Melissa Carr, B.Sc., Registered Dr. of Traditional Chinese Medicine With the official start of summer just around the corner, many are ditching the gym and heading outdoors to exercise. After all, who wants to be inside surrounded by blank walls and stale air when you can take your workouts outside on a gorgeous day? Now that the warm weather is here, it’s the perfect time to swap the fitness centre for a dose of Mother Nature. Check out these 5 reasons why the great outdoors really is the perfect training ground. Plus, an extra tip on how to get rid of joint pain that might be stopping you from getting out to exercise.
- You’ll Get Extra Vitamin D You’re already well aware that a healthy diet is key when it comes to getting the vitamins your body needs. But did you also know that vitamin D is the only vitamin that our skin produces when it is exposed to the sunlight? Exercising outside will help you soak up the sunshine, especially after a long grey winter. Getting ample vitamin D will help keep your bones and teeth strong, support your immune system, keep your lungs and heart healthy, decrease your risk of cancer, and reduce joint pain. As with all good things, just make sure not to overdo it.
- You’ll Burn More Calories It’s easy to fall into a fitness rut when your body knows what’s coming. So it’s important to mix things up a little if you want to get the most out of your workouts. Sure, you could adjust the incline on a treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike, but nothing compares to taking your routine outdoors. Slopes, uneven ground, and wind resistance is going to make your body work harder, promoting “muscle confusion,” helping you burn more calories.
- You’ll Feel Better It’s already a known fact that exercise can improve your mood. But research has also shown that exercising outside has even greater mood-boosting effects. Training outdoors in all that fresh air will release the body’s feel-good chemical, serotonin. So go play outside. You’ll reduce stress and boost your energy and positive thinking while keeping you fit, healthy, and happy all summer long.
- You’ll Save a Bundle Gym memberships, yoga classes, and exercise equipment—the cost of staying in shape sure can add up over time. One of the best reasons for exercising outside is that it won’t cost you a dime. Your local park has everything you need to get in a great workout for free. Try some tricep dips or step-ups on a bench, run on a nearby trail, do your high intensity interval training on the nearest set of stairs, or roll out your mat on the lush green grass for some great outdoor yoga.
- You'll Train Whenever You Want Wouldn’t it be nice to follow your own workout schedule for a change? Just think about it, no more line-ups for the treadmill, no more overflowing classes, and no more tiny storage lockers. When you exercise outside, you choose when and where to you want to go, anytime, day or night.