Fitness: 3 Reasons to Exercise Outside

Why am I so excited it’s officially spring? Warmer temperatures and longer days mean more time outdoors.

This spring, resolve to exercise afuera.

¿Por qué? 

An outdoor workout provides even more health benefits than hitting the gym.

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This scenery is much more enticing than a treadmill! Courtesy: @NatalieGFierro

3 Reasons to Take it Outside:

  1. Intensify your exercise: Whether you are running, biking, or kicking a soccer ball, uneven terrain and wind resistance will require you to use more muscle groups and work harder than you would indoors.  Also, people tend to exercise longer when they are outside. I get that. I would rather play another 5 minutes of beach volleyball than ride 5 more on a stationary bike!
  2. Improve your mood: While any exercise will lift your spirits, studies show that people who get moving afuera experience a greater decrease in tension, anger, and depression than those who opt for indoor activities. Read more here to learn how just 5 minutes in a green space can improve your self-esteem. Sunlight, a known mood-lifter, can take partial credit, but anyone who has walked along a stream or enjoyed a view from a mountain summit knows nature’s beauty can make you feel energized and alive.
  3. Outdoor workouts are a cheaper, flexible alternative to the gym: Skip the monthly dues and find an open space to break a sweat any time of day. Jog, bike, or jump rope to get your heart rate up. In 2 Ways to Keep PE on your Schedule, I recommend strength training moves you can do anywhere, including squats, crunches, and push-ups. Click here for more outdoor toning moves.

Note: Always be safe: wear sunscreen, drink plenty of water, keep a buddy or phone with you, and never wear headphones around traffic or when alone.

¿Look good, feel good, save money? ¡Sí, por favor! ¿Where do I start?

Adapt your current routine: swap the treadmill for the track and spinning class for the trail, do lunges in the backyard instead of the living room. Prefer structured group fitness? Find a running club or outdoor class.

Then get adventurous! Try wilderness activities like hiking, climbing, or kayaking.

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Practice yoga outdoors. Courtesy: @NatalieGFierro

Trail running and archery get me out in the fresh air. I also always make time for them.

I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

A teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

What are your favorite outdoor activities?

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