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!

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/lose-weight/total- body/best-outdoor- workout/?page=1

References:

Healthy Living (2012) Outdoor Exercise: Health Benefits of Working out Outside. Huffington Post.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/23/outdoor-exercise- health-benefits_n_1616467.html

Reynolds, Gretchen (2013) The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors. The New York Times.
https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/21/the-benefits- of-exercising- outdoors/?_r=0

A Health Blog (2017) More Mental and Physical Benefits from Outdoor Exercise.
https://www.ahealthblog.com/confirmation-of- 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!

Rejuvenate Your Workout Routine for 2014!

By Sarah KolstadBack View of Man Running on Stairs

Corporate Fitness

Move over Zumba and Pilates. Hot fitness trends for 2014 include high-intensity interval training (think CrossFit and P90X) and “old-school” body weight training, such as push-ups, pull-ups, and planks. If you are looking for something new for 2014, this article is a great place to start your search!

The American College of Sports Medicine recently released its survey of the top 20 fitness trends that are sure to be huge next year. This year’s list is pretty well-rounded, but you won’t find past trends like spinning, kickboxing, barefoot running, or stability ball workouts. Instead, you’ll find several new ideas for your New Year’s Resolutions.

Here are some of the highlights of the list:

  1. High-Intensity Interval Training – This form of cardiovascular exercise typically involves short bursts of high-intensity bouts of exercise followed by a short period of rest or recovery, and usually takes less than 30 minutes to perform.
  1. Body Weight Training – Body Weight Training uses minimal equipment, which makes it an inexpensive way to exercise effectively. Examples are push-ups, squats, planks and lunges.
  1. Functional Fitness – Functional Fitness is defined as using targeted strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to improve one’s ability to function on a daily basis. Functional Fitness programs replicate actual activities someone might do as a part of their daily life.
  1. Outdoor Activities – Health and fitness professionals are beginning to offer more outdoor activities to their clients. Outdoor activities often include hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and games or sports.
  1. Group Personal Training – This trend lets the trainer continue to provide the personal service clients expect but in a small group of two to four, often resulting in lower costs to each member of the group.

If you have found yourself bored of your workout routine or have hit a plateau, try one or more of these hot activities in 2014. You may find yourself more motivated than ever!

Reference:

Thompson, Walter R. (2013). Now Trending: Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2014. ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal. 17 (6), 10-20.

About the Author:

Sarah Kolstad has her Masters in Kinesiology from Saint Mary’s College. She is one of BaySport’s Corporate Fitness program managers and is responsible for all aspects of her client’s onsite fitness centers, including group fitness, personal training, incentive programming, and health education. In her free time, Sarah enjoys playing volleyball, hiking and spending time with her fiancé and golden retriever.