Been hibernating with a hot chocolate the last three months?
No doubt about it, it is getting warmer. The sun is shining. The Hadeda’s are making that awful noise they make. The Jacaranda blossom will be in full bloom in a few weeks. Time to take your training outdoors.
Here are Sporty Little Number’s top 5 reasons why.
Why are the Great Outdoors so GREAT?
- Staying Power – Studies show that outdoor exercise may be easier to stick to. People who exercise outdoors get a greater sense of enjoyment and satisfaction, and are more likely to repeat the activity. So if you have been struggling to get motivated, try adding an outdoor routine to your training!
- Mental Space – Outdoor training has been known to help reduce stress, anxiety, confusion and anger as well as boost energy and feelings of revitalisation. A 2008 Scottish Health Survey found that outdoor physical activity had a 50% greater positive effect on mental health than going to the gym. Mother Nature helps relieve everyday stresses.
- Smarter Training – When training outdoors your body deals with the elements and the general environment. Running on an uneven surface, such as a road, trail or beach, helps burn more calories per kilometre than running on a treadmill. You will also use your muscles in different ways as you manoeuvre different terrains – running downhill for example is difficult on a treadmill.
- Improves your mood and energy – According to a US study, just 20 minutes outdoors can have the same energy boosting effect as a cup of coffee. And you do not need to get physical to get this boost. But considering exercise energises you when sluggish, just think what it can do if you combine it with fresh air!
- Improved Sleep – Outdoor training may help you sleep better. Exercise in general aids sleep: it’s a beneficial stressor to the body, and helps increase the amount of time you spend in deep sleep. Also the increase and subsequent decrease of body temperature when exercising helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. Exposure to sunlight when training outdoors, helps regulate the body’s natural temperature rhythm making it easier to fall asleep. This is why you pass out after a hike!
How to Get Fresh this spring…
Channel your inner Maria Sharapova and get on the court! Tennis is a perfect outdoor sport. It’s also social! Get a training buddy and challenge them. Or if you are beginners, motivate each other onto the court to perfect your topspin. You don’t need to be a Wimbledon Champ to reap the benefits … running around on the court for 60 minutes (medium intensity) could see you burn 365 calories. Not to mention you engage your whole body for a muscle-toning workout. It improves cardiovascular fitness. It burns fat and can improve your agility. Apparently it burns more calories than hiking, golf, rowing and swimming!
Even if you only have 20 – 30 minutes to work out a day, try and take a couple of those sessions outdoors. This can be as simple as a brisk walk around your neighbourhood, complex or local park. A brisk walk will tone glutes and leg muscles and can have cardio benefits if you push it up a hill or two. Don’t forget the feel-good endorphins from being outside!
Mix up your running routine by taking it off the treadmill and through the streets, to the beach or on a trail! Not only will it give you something more interesting to look at but it will increase the resistance, working your muscles harder. If you are feeling energetic you can use natural inclines to build in some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Run at a normal pace for 3-5 minutes then sprint uphill for 1 minute. This will rev up your metabolism!