Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

By Kristi Harries

After a long winter of working out indoors, many people enjoy switching up their routines and taking their sweat sessions outside. The change of scenery alone is enough for most, but there are a few added health benefits to encourage more outside workouts this summer!

Mental and Emotional Well-being: A randomized study found that natural environment exercise was linked to increased energy, greater feelings of revitalization and greater satisfaction. Participants also reported they were more likely to exercise again compared to their indoor counterparts.

Outdoor exercise has also been associated with decreasing tension, confusion, anger and depression. A few small studies have found that people who exercise outside have lower blood levels of cortisol, the hormone related to stress.

Improved Attention and Focus: Although any exercise is likely to help with clearing the mind, a small study from the University of Illinois found that ADHD children were better able to concentrate after a 20-minute walk in the park than those who walked through the city or neighborhood streets. This shows that our physical environment can make a difference.

Higher Vitamin D levels: Taking your workout outside is a great way to soak up a few extra sun rays and get that needed vitamin D. Although you want to be safe and wear sunscreen, if you are planning to be in the sun for a long period of time, being outside may be especially helpful for people with low levels of vitamin D.

Burn more Calories: Outdoor exercise tends to be more strenuous than the indoor version. Comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of running outside, treadmill runners expended less energy to cover the same distance as those striding outside; primarily because indoor exercises do not face wind resistance or changes in the terrain. The same dynamic can apply to cycling. That means that if you have limited time and want to burn as many calories as possible, you should hit the road instead of the gym!

Another small study on older adults (men and women aged 66 or older) found that volunteers reported enjoying the outside activity more and found that those who exercised outside exercised longer and more often than those who exercised indoors.

To help get you started, follow this link to see some fun outside exercises! body/best-outdoor- workout/?page=1


Healthy Living (2012) Outdoor Exercise: Health Benefits of Working out Outside. Huffington Post. health-benefits_n_1616467.html

Reynolds, Gretchen (2013) The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors. The New York Times. of-exercising- outdoors/?_r=0

A Health Blog (2017) More Mental and Physical Benefits from Outdoor Exercise. mental-and- physical-benefits- from-outdoor-exercise.html

About the Author:

Kristi has been with BaySport coming up on 7 years managing the Micro Focus location in Provo, Utah. She graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a degree in Health Promotion and Lifetime Wellness, and is a Licensed Massage Therapist. She enjoys working with clients to improve their lifestyle and coach them towards a long healthy life! She loves living close to the mountains to hike and fish with her husband and now 10 month old daughter. She is running the Utah Valley and Mt. Nebo Half marathons this summer and enjoys training outside after a long snowy winter!

Actionable Tips For Weight-loss, Success, and Optimization

By Ryan Hail

We have all heard how to lose weight…Exercise More! Eat Less! Try this diet! While this information is not technically incorrect, it falls flat on actually giving clients the results they seek. Why? Because they are non-specific and some do not promote actual healthy habits. Here are my 3 steps to weight loss.

1) Intermittent Fasting (IF)

This is a method of eating in which you restrict your meals to a certain window of time in a given day.

How it works: Time restrictive eating can be broken down a lot of ways, my go to for most people is to start with a 16 hour fast followed by an 8 hour feed. A simple way to practice this would be to have your last meal of the day around 7-8pm, skip breakfast, then start eating again around 11am-12pm.

While skipping breakfast is the most popular method, you could also opt for an early dinner followed by a late breakfast. Regardless of how you decide to implement IF, the key thing to remember is that this is a piece of a much larger puzzle and does not give you “freedom” to eat a diet filled with unhealthy food. Be sure to choose nutrient dense, whole-foods such as vegetables, fruit, coconut oil, avocados, fresh fish, eggs, meat, nuts/seeds and beans.

2) Move 30-60 minutes on most days of the week.

This part is critical for not only weight-loss but mental and physical well-being. This can include a walk first thing in the morning, a CrossFit class, Yoga, Powerlifting, etc. The “art of doing” is the important piece here. Just move!

3) Manage Your Hormones. Manage Your Life.

Hormones basically run everything our bodies do. They are chemical messengers that are critical to life and vitality. When my normal tips and tricks do not work with a client, I start to become curious about how optimally their endocrine (hormonal) system is operating. One hormone that is getting a lot of attention right now is cortisol, better known as the stress hormone. Some cortisol is needed for survival but too much for too long can create havoc on your quality of life as well as your waist line!

Ways to balance your hormones:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Honor your circadian rhythm by sleeping 7-9 hours per night. Ideally from about 10pm-6am.
  • Mediation and Breath Work 10-20 minutes per day
  • Socialize with uplifting people

Bonus Material: (For people who have already implemented the strategies listed above).

  • Lift Weights 1-3 times per week for about 30-45 minutes. This can be included in tip #2.
  • Get a full blood panel to help you better understand your unique biological needs.
  • Meet with a fitness professional to fine-tune your program.
  • Research the Metabolic Typing Diet. (While I am not a huge fan of prescribing diets, this is one that looks at the individuals needs and can help people understand their relationship with food on a much deeper level).

Hopefully these tips not only guide you to weight-loss, but encourage you to lead a healthier life filled with laughter, love, and peace.

Note: Studies have shown that intermittent fasting has potential benefits for anti-aging, cancer, cognitive function, inflammation, hypertension, and the metabolic syndrome; but the evidence so far is insufficient to justify making clinical recommendations.²


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3) fix-your- hormones-and- lose-weight/

4) that-exercise- alone-wont-cause-weight- loss

About the Author:

Ryan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Science from Wright State University.  In addition, he is a certified personal trainer through the National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT), CrossFit Level 1 Coach, USA Weightlifting Specialist Level 1 (USAW SPC L1), Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 1 (CHEK) and he stays on the cutting edge of fitness programming through workshops and peer communications. He has enjoyed working with his clients to enable them to perform better, feel better, and live better for seven years.  His background focuses on sports performance training, corporate wellness, CrossFit, and Olympic weightlifting.  Ryan’s hobbies include Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, lifting weights, yoga, reading, stand-up paddle boarding, and exploring Austin!

Classes: Boot Camp. PowerFit. Barbell Club. H.I.I.T.

Satiating Your Hunger and Quenching Thirst

By John Paul de Guzman

Have you ever felt hungry or thirsty during or after a workout? It is not uncommon to confuse the two sensations when it comes to your appetite and wonder, “Should I eat or drink, and when?” In this article, we will identify the body’s different signals and how to mindfully respond to them to manage hunger and thirst.

Hunger is the body’s signal indicating its need for food and energy. There are three types of hunger that reflect your body’s need for food in everyday life: physical, emotional, and situational hunger. First,  symptoms of physical hunger include stomach growling, weakness, headaches, loss of concentration, and mood swings. Be mindful of these physical signals and respond to them regularly because if they are ignored, then the body will release hormones that increase the sensation of hunger, decreasing the hormone that enhances satiety (Brown, 2017). Second, emotional hunger is the desire to eat to cope with feelings (i.e., sad, lonely, anxious, or bored). Unmanaged emotional hunger can lead to eating disorders and/or worsened emotional health, which in extreme cases professional support from a mental health counselor or dietitian is suggested.

The best way to manage hunger is to recognize these signals to distinguish between physical versus emotional hunger. Then, use The Hunger Scale to measure your hunger level before, during, and after eating to monitor your food intake:

1-Extremely hungry
2-Very hungry
3-Mildly hungry
4-Satisfied (not hungry nor full)
5-Midely full
6-Very full
7-Extremely full

Third, situational hunger is influenced by your surroundings. For example, extra-large restaurant servings, food ads, and your home and workplace influence your food intake. Furthermore, when individuals are eating and distracted by watching television, on a phone call, or browsing the web, their attention is drawn away from the food being eaten, which can lead to over-consumption (Crome, 2017). In response to these habits, the Food and Brand Lab recommends the “C.A.N.” approach, which encourages making healthy foods Convenient, Attractive, and Normal (Brown, 2017). For instance, consider decluttering your kitchen, pre-washing and slicing produce, preparing healthy meals in batches on the weekends for your workweek ahead, or replacing unhealthy snacks with better on-the-go options. As you can see, there are different types of hunger, but if you listen and respond to these signals mindfully, your relationship with food will be more positive.

Meal timing is key to workout performance and recovery. It is normal to feel hungry after a workout because exercise burns calories. Whether or not you eat before your workout can impact your hunger later in the day. In fact, exercising in a fasted state will lead to early fatigue, poor stamina, and increased hunger later (Bachus and Macdonald, 2015). Sheri Berger, BaySport Registered Dietitian, recommends that for quick energy, pre-workout meals should consist mostly of carbohydrates and consumed 1-2 hours prior to strength training (e.g., a smoothie or Greek yogurt with fruits, nuts, and honey) or having a small snack (e.g., granola bar, fresh fruit, or a bagel with peanut butter) about 30-60 minutes before cardio or circuit training. Following cardio or circuit training, eat a small snack within 30 minutes after your workout and a meal, composed of a ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 carbs and protein (e.g., pasta with a salad and a glass of milk), within 2 hours of finishing. Similarly, post-workout meals following weight training should be consumed within 2 hours and composed of a carb to protein ratio of 2:1 or 1:1 (e.g. grilled chicken with rice and broccoli). Whenever possible, choose whole foods.

At the same time, if you feel hungry, you might actually be thirsty. Thirst is the body’s signal that it is on the way to dehydration. The American Council on Exercise emphasizes that most people do not drink enough water before, during, and after exercise, but it is recommended to drink whether you are thirsty or not. Consider the various factors that influence intake throughout your day: sweat rate, water lost through excretion, food and beverage consumption, metabolic water loss and any water lost through respiration. Given that, the brain sometimes confuses a lack of fluid with not enough food, signaling physical hunger symptoms. In addition, be aware of concentrated and decreased urine (urine should be a pale yellow), weight loss, increased heart rate and low blood pressure, dry mouth and eyes, and constipation. Because water composes more than half of the human body, it is impossible to sustain life for more than a week without it and must be consumed to replace the amount lost each day during basic activities.

Water is the best form of hydration for most individuals, and it is recommended to drink eight 8 ounce cups of water a day. Before exercise, drink 2-3 cups of fluid 2 to 3 hours before workout and 1 cup of fluid 10 to 20 minutes right before activity. During exercise, drink 1 cup of fluid every 15 minutes, and after exercise, drink at least 2 cups. Sports drinks are not needed unless the activity exceeds 45-60 minutes to replenish salt lost during sweat. If sports drinks are unavailable drink water and having a salty snack (i.e. pretzels). Moreover, daily water intake does not always need to be met through the consumption of plain water (Nitschke, 2017). Foods and beverages possessing hydrating properties that work to our benefit include: fruits fresh, frozen or canned in natural juice, leafy greens, dairy, coffee/tea, tomatoes, and oatmeal.

In conclusion, listen to your body’s hunger signals and respond to them accordingly. Time your meals and check the hunger scale to monitor food intake, choosing whole foods whenever possible. Remember to drink throughout the day to quench your thirst and that there are alternative sources from which you can fulfill your daily water intake from. Taking steps to manage your thirst and hunger will promote a more positive relationship with food and a satiated appetite.


Bachus, T., R.D.N., & Macdonald, E., R.D.N. (2015, July 20). Why Am I Always Hungry After a Workout? Retrieved March 16, 2017, from

Brown, K. (2017, March 10). All About Hunger. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from

Crome, G. (2017, March 7). Mindful Eating. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from

Healthy Hydration. (n.d.). Retrieved March 23, 2017, from

Nitschke, E. (2016, December 28). Eat Your Water – Sources of Hydrating Foods. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from

Author’s Bio

John Paul (JP) is a American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer. He is a Bay Area native and long-time San Francisco Giants and 49ers fan. He spent most of the winter shredding the slopes on his snowboard, but is ready to hit the ground running again to train for his 7th full marathon.