One Powerful Way to Improve Your Workouts

And it has nothing to do with reps or sets

You’re likely already aware of some of the benefits of working out. Exercise reduces your risk of many chronic diseases, improves your heart health, helps you sleep, strengthens your body, and enhances your mood, just to name a few.  Exercise also improves your ability to perform your day-to-day tasks and increases your stamina.

Once you have a good exercise routine going, you can continue making improvements to your health and stamina in a number of ways. Yes, you can shake up your routine by mixing up your reps and sets and trying out different exercise modalities.

But one of the best ways to improve your workout?

Take it outside.

Working out in a natural environment has a really powerful way of transforming the entire experience for you. The advantages of simply being outside as well as the benefits of being on unpredictable terrain compound the positive effects of your workout.

Some of those benefits of working out outside include:

  • Increased energy
  • Decreased tension
  • Less depressed mood
  • Increased feelings of satisfaction
  • Improved concentration
  • Increased vitamin D production

Not only that, but wind speed, uneven terrain, and weather changes add new challenges to your workouts that change every day. Running 10 miles outside, for example, is an entirely different experience than running 10 miles on a treadmill. The changing scenery and the impact of the unmoving ground under your feet require a whole new set of demands from your body and your mind.

Plus, it’s just a nice change of scenery from our highly digitalized, indoor lives.

Convinced to workout outside yet?

If you’d like to take your workout outside, here are a few helpful tips to get you started:

  • Work out first thing in the morning before the temperature is too hot and the sunlight reaches its harshest levels.
  • Make sure to take the proper precautions by dressing appropriately, bringing water, telling someone where you’ll be, and wearing sunscreen.
  • Try an outdoor workout that you love, whether that’s jumping rope, biking, swimming, or hiking. You’ll get way more satisfaction out of a routine you look forward to.
  • Don’t limit yourself to what you think of as traditional outdoor activities. You can do most of your regular workouts outside on your back deck. Just grab your weights and head to your backyard.
  • Take off your shoes whenever possible. The positive benefits from grounding in your bare feet include improved sleep, reduced inflammation, and less stress. Working out with your feet on the ground also hones your sense of proprioception and improves your leg and foot agility.

Take some time after your outdoor workout to assess how you feel and make a mental note about how different you feel after exercising outside rather than inside. And remember, those are just the noticeable effects. Think about everything else that’s happening under the surface!

As summer approaches and the weather beckons you outside, heed that call and give yourself a new challenge by taking your workout out there too. Don’t hesitate to ask your trainer to take some of your sessions outside this summer.

References: Science Daily, Medline Plus, National Institute of Health, Washington Post, Harvard Health