Today, when most people think about exercise – the first image that our mind creates is running on a treadmill facing the large glass windows with a beautiful landscape. Isn’t it?
And even when people inquire about the best gyms in the city, the one factor apart from the trainers that everyone prefers is magnificent city-landscapes visible from the gym and why not!
Study proves that simply looking at nature or images of natural surroundings can lower your blood pressure, stress, and mental fatigue. Surprising, isn’t it?
But, wait! If that is the power of nature, isn’t it better to exercise out in nature? We all might have gone for a quick run on the roads during blissful weather, but have you ever thought about shifting your gym out there in nature. No! I am not talking about moving all your gears to the garden. I am talking about working out in nature.
Though it is not a new concept in the rush of revolution, we forgot the ways our ancestors kept themselves fit and fine. They believed in the healing power of nature as an essential factor in maintaining and restoring one's health.
For centuries, we have not only lived off the land for survival, but we have also turned to nature time-and-again for better health and fun physical activity. Some of the profound benefits that they gained by working out in nature are
IMPROVEMENT IN LEARNING MEMORY
Interesting being a runner in nature and an ardent reader found a simple hack to increase the learning capacity of the brain. Recently published case studies it has been revealed that our Neuro Count (the learning capacity) can be increased by adding an aerobic exercise in our routine, 15-20 min of aerobic exercise can boost your memory power.
The question arises HOW and WHAT is the science behind it. When we do aerobic exercise, we tend to pump our heart rate. The optimum level of improvement could be seen when the heart rate pumps to 70 to 90% of the lung capacity. How do we calculate this zone?
For example… I am 30 years old so my ideal heart rate in aerobic exercise would be 220 – 30 = 190 beats per min (BPM). So, the ideal heart rate should go between 133 to 171 where I would find myself in my maximal zone of benefit.
The Science Behind It
When our heart rate pumps blood at an optimum level, the body starts getting into stress since this is the healthy stress the body releases a happy go lucky hormone dopamine, endorphins, etc. The question arises what is new in what everyone says about it. Slowly and steadily as we practice this over 6 months & above, we start changing our Neuro Association of the brain.
This same condition happens when we get an attack the heart starts popping up and down which in turn releases cortisol which is a stress hormone. Since our neuro association has changed, we are better at handling this stress.
BOOST IN IMMUNE SYSTEM
Ever felt better just by stepping outside the house?
Study shows that green space in your atmosphere will have a positive association with your health. It helps you boost your immune system. When you are out in nature, your body behaves differently. The fresh air, trees, and the green environment acts as a natural stimulus and helps your body shield itself from the disease.
BURST OF VITAMIN D
Sitting in the enclosed space all day long will only lead you to deficiency of Vitamin D. Going out in nature for some exercise is a brilliant way to give some Vitamin D to your body. The sun hitting your body will not only make you healthy, but it will also keep you away from diseases like brittle bones, osteoporosis, and the bone disorder called rickets. If you do not believe me, why do not you Google yourself!
BURN MORE CALORIES
You might have experienced that you can run continues 1 hour on the treadmill but when it comes to running outdoors your body gives up in 15 minutes. Happened with you too? Well, that is because performing indoors is different from exercising outdoors.
Research from the University of Exeter proves in their studies that due to the wind resistance road runners burn more calories when running at the same speed than treadmill runners.
You might have not noticed but when you feel down and suffocated, going out in nature helps you calm down. Many studies show that when you are out in nature, your body releases feel-good hormones like dopamine, and hence, you feel better in nature!
Imagining running on a treadmill and staring at the same wall daily may result in monotony and exhaustion. Whereas, when you exercise outdoors, the new environment pushes you to work out longer. Go out, take a walk! You will realize that you have more energy compared to indoor treadmill-based walking. When you are running on the grass or in nature, you feel more energetic and motivated than working out in the gym which helps you to work out longer than the gym timings and reduces your tension and anger.
5 METHODS TO WORKOUT IN NATURE
Do you remember playing out in nature when you were a kid? Exercise just like your younger days. That is the easiest way!
The healthier way of working out in nature is by including green sports in your routine. Tricking your body into a workout while you indulge in good sports in nature will help you improve your immune functions and possibly sound sleep at night.
So, what are some interesting ways you can indulge in green exercise?
1. WALK-IN NATURE
Start your way to green exercise by brisk walking in nature for a minimum of 150 minutes every week. You need not take a set path every day. Some days take a trip to your neighborhood; some days just stroll in a garden or make your way to the beach (if there is one in your city!) This convenient way of introducing nature in your workout will not only keep you engaged but will also help you boost up your capacity gradually you can start jogging and running in nature and marathons, maybe!
2. PEDAL INTO NATURE
When was the last time you rode your bicycle that is parked in the garage?
Well, I am guessing – long time back!
Cycling has its own benefits which include boosting your mood by releasing adrenaline and endorphins to improved confidence by breaking your own records.
Ride solo or join a cycling group! Get out and ride your cycle. Be adventurous. You can also turn the old railroads into your bike trails and cycle in the green stretch of the cities. But, if you are adventurous, try Mountain biking. Invest in good thin-tired road bikes for a swift ride on the streets in the city but if you are looking for more adventurous options, invest in thick tire bikes which will help you maintain a grip on rocks, mud, sand, and even snow! Find your best 2-wheel companion and go out for some exercise.
3. MAN-MADE ADVENTURE PARKS
DISCLAIMER – I am not talking about amusement parks here!
A study shows that a physically active lifestyle has a higher percentage of living than inactive individuals.
If you are someone who gets bored very easily then you can look up for some man-made adventure parks around your area. This will not only give you variety but will also help you experience different activities such as climbing rock walls, rope courses, and zip lines.
These adventure activities will turn your workout into an exciting game! But if you are looking for subtle outdoor exercises working out in the park with free installed equipment is also a good idea.
4. YOGA IN NATURE
The best exercise that does not require any equipment is yoga. Just striking few poses heals the body in and out and the benefits of yoga magnify when you are doing it out in nature. Closed four walls cannot match up with the serenity that nature provides. Also, the study shows that as you perform yoga in the arms of Mother Nature, away from the city chaos, it helps in improving listening abilities and establishes a deeper connection with your inner self.
5. BE IN THE WOODS
To enjoy your workout in nature, it is advisable to stir up your daily routine with some surprise. Take benefit of the natural features of your city. Be it a mountain or the beach or the forest – you can experiment with anything. Hills are perfect for a stimulating run. You can also indulge in water sports just like canyoneering and make your workout session more interesting. If you cannot afford such exercises every day, go out for hiking and camping every week or fifteen days. When you work out in nature, you take in more oxygen which also helps you clear your mind and heals your depression.
HOW TO GET FIT IN NATURE
Remember, consistency is the king. Getting fit is not challenging. Instead of staying consistent is where the real problem lies.
When we plan something new, it is a human tendency to overvalue our potential and we make plans that we will not be able to accomplish. Hence, to keep it motivating so that you do not give up in the start itself – GO EASY!
Monotonous kills the excitement. While nature keeps you busy with surprises, it is also your responsibility to keep experimenting with new things to keep up with the motivation. Try different workouts. Go for trail running in woods one day and surf the next day. This will motivate you to go out in nature and workout daily.
CREATE A CIRCUIT
Experiment and create a pattern. Fix a schedule that will help you maintain discipline. Mondays are for walking in the woods, Tuesdays are for park exercise, Wednesdays are for yoga on the mountain, and so on. Keep it interesting!
If you are running for 10 minutes on the first day, make sure after a week you push your limit and run for 15 minutes. This will help you increase your capacity and build a healthy body and mind.
Do not push your limits too much. Your body needs rest too to repair. Taking a day off from exercising will not harm you. But, remember to be back after a day. Do not feel laid back and skip too many days of workout in nature.
What are you waiting for?
GET. SET. GO.
Author Bio: Arpiet Malpani
After Running the 1st Marathon at the age of 25, Arpiet realized his passion for Outdoor adventure. Despite his affection for running, he is in unity with nature. Arpiet’s mission is to create Outdoor Nature experience for all, to be more enjoyable and comfortable.