Incorporating the Outdoors into Your Fitness Routine.
By: Stephanie Ruopp
We hope it’s safe to say that spring has finally arrived.
And that means that it’s time to get back to the great outdoors.
What it doesn’t mean, though, is that you should just ditch your fitness routine and everything you’ve achieved thus far.
Sure. There will be days when you just can’t bring yourself to come inside for a class or a session. We understand that.
But we also understand the importance of striking a balance to maintain a healthy body and mind. That’s why we’re all about incorporating the outdoors into your fitness routine.
Yet, not abandoning the important indoor work.
Incorporating the Outdoors into Your Fitness Routine
There are many advantages to moving some aspects of your fitness routine outdoors.
The simple act of breathing fresh air has multiple benefits.
Imagine a mat Pilates practice on a quiet deck overlooking a yard, or in the shade of a huge tree in the park. You’re probably already getting that euphoric feeling.
That’s because getting out and being active in the fresh air actually releases endorphins. And this, in turn, will leave you feeling more revitalized, energetic and positive.
Exercising outside tends to be more engaging and mentally stimulating due to the changing scenery and different terrain. It can make you want to exercise longer and put forth more effort.
Add some sunshine, and you’re boosting serotonin too. (Just be sure to use the proper SPF for your skin type.)
But there are benefits to being indoors too.
The Inside Job
When the weather is not agreeable – too hot or cold, too wet or stormy – the OBVIOUS choice is to bring the exercise back indoors.
But sometimes, even on the nicest day, there’s something appealing about taking an hour or so to come inside and focus on your fitness.
It could be the motivation you feel when working in a group setting such as a Pilates class, or with a fitness instructor who really knows how to keep you engaged. Some folks really thrive on this.
Then, of course, there is the issue of indoor workout machines – such as the reformer. They provide more consistent, better-controlled and lower-impact activity than many outdoor activities.
And this is especially crucial for those who are working with joint issues or recovering from injuries.
Even if you’re not recovering from an injury, coming inside to workout on such machines can intermittently take stress off joints while still delivering cardio benefits.
Strike That Balance
Most experts agree that there are some serious psychological and physiological benefits to balancing your exercise routine between indoor and outdoor environments.
When possible, of course.
So during these warmer months, it’s a good idea to consider building more indoor and outdoor variety into your routine.
Steering from the confines of just your usual indoor routine can also jump-start your body. This can be especially helpful in pushing past plateaus in weight loss or conditioning.
Another benefit of incorporating outdoor activities is how they will improve your proprioception. Proprioception is an understanding of your sense of balance and where your body is in space. And certain outdoor activities demand a lot from you.
For example, an hour on a hiking trail requires you to watch for and work around obstacles such as puddles, tree roots, rocks, etc. The adjustments your body has to make to safely navigate such terrain engages core and skeletal muscles, as well as improve ankle mobility. This makes it a nice complement to Pilates.
And since moving between indoor and outdoor environments can help you tailor your athletic experience based on your changing moods and needs, you’re just generally going to feel better about your workout – and yourself.
Step back into Nature
But keep one foot in the door.
Because even though you might be inclined to just soak up the next few months outside, you could be taking a few steps backward on the progress you’ve made thus far in your routine.
And if you’re not entirely sure on the safest and smartest ways to go about incorporating the outdoors into your fitness routine, consult with a Pilates fitness instructor.
They have the expertise to guide you on activities that will further complement your current routine, while letting you enjoy some of the great outdoors as well.