There are plenty of things to love about spring: we get warmer days with longer sunlight hours, getting out of bed in the morning becomes a little easier, and everyone just seems to be in a better mood generally.
One of our favourite of all the spring blessings is that we suddenly have the chance to mix-up our exercise regime. Unless you’re a crazy all-weather jogger, chances are you’ve spent the better part of five months working out safely inside your heated gym room or yoga studio. But now, with longer days and dryer weather, it’s the perfect time to take things outdoors.
The outdoors isn’t just great for running. With a little creativity and imagination, you can replicate almost any gym exercise outside. And, not only does the fresh air and change of scenery make your workout a little more interesting, there are many proven physical and mental benefits of relocating your sweat session to the great outdoors:
When you exercise outside you get a constantly changing environment and variable terrain. Working out on a changing terrain teaches your body and muscles to be responsive, and can also help build strength in your connective tissues.
Burn more calories
Believe it or not, but the wind can actually help you burn more calories. The natural resistance of a strong headwind makes you work harder, while a good tailwind can help you move faster – activating the larger type II muscle fibres responsible for strength and definition.
A healthy mind
An increasing amount of research shows outdoor activity is great for the mind. In fact, a Harvard study in 2016 found that exposure to higher levels of green vegetation is actually linked to decreased mortality rates! Exercising amongst trees and wildlife can give you a healthy mood boost and can help to combat anxiety and stress. Bonus points if you take your shoes off to feel the grass under your feet.
Running through your local park, or simply walking around your neighbourhood, can be a great way to get to know your neighbours. Being connected with your community and having a healthy relationship with those around you is great for your emotional and mental wellbeing. So, take those earbuds out and engage with your community.