#1 Perform better at work:
Bam! There you go. No need to read on, this should be the one selling point that convinces you to strap up those running shoes and get outside. Everyone wants to perform better at work.
Over the past couple of centuries, numerous studies and historical documentation have shown that some of the smartest, most accomplished people ever to walk this earth have, well, walked their way to success.
A 2014 study from Stanford University has shown that people are much more creative (up to 81%!) when they are walking around as opposed to when they are sitting still.
Brilliant men and women including Beethoven and Steve Jobs walked daily for inspiration and even us mere mortals will benefit from taking a mental break from a project, finding fresh perspective when we return to the grind.
Let’s face it, there are too many boxes in your life. You go to sleep and wake up in a big box, you sit in a box and in front of the box for most of your working day and your main sources of entertainment come from boxes of all sizes. So why on God’s green earth would you choose to exercise inside of another box?!?
Just being outside provides a plethora of health benefits. The fresh air, the sunlight (why do you think so many Americans suffer from Vitamin D deficiency?) and the ability to allow your eyes to relax.
Focusing on a screen all day under artificial lighting is terrible for the health of your eyes and can lead to vision problems and headaches.
So leave the box behind (All of them. Your cell phone will be okay on its own for an hour, we promise) and get outdoors!
#3 Connect with nature:
Not to get all hippy on you’all but there are some real, scientifically proven benefits to being surrounded by nature.
The most notable is stress reduction. How can you think negative thoughts or feel stressed when you can hear the wind blowing through the trees and birds chirping?
Just spending several minutes in nature a day has shown to reduce blood pressure and resting heart rate.
Your homework: Do something active outdoors (walking, gardening, anything) for at least 10 minutes everyday during either the sunset or sunrise. This is for all of those who say they “don’t have time to exercise”.
#4 Better mechanics:
No, we aren’t talking about finding a better car mechanic. We are talking about body mechanics, as in how you move. If you are fond of the treadmill, elliptical or stair stepper, realize that those machines are only trying to mimic the real thing, and they aren’t doing a very good job of it.
Walking or running on a treadmill for example is not like running outdoors, not matter how similar it feels. Your body doesn’t move or react the same when you have a moving tread underneath your feet. And where in the real world can you find a perfectly flat road that goes on for miles and miles? When you run or hike in the outdoors, there are no handles to hold you upright; you develop strong core muscles to keep your chest up high and your eyes forward. Treadmills tend change your footstrike and ellipticals force you into an unnatural stride. When running outdoors you can focus on short, quick, light steps ensuing you are using the right muscles for optimal performance and injury prevention.
#5 Work different muscles:
Workouts in the gym, and specifically using machines have one major downfall: inflexibility. Most exercises that require lifting heavy weights are set movements that rarely mimic motions we use in day to day life or competitive events.
Say you are training for an obstacle race or want to climb a 14er. These events, although different, require dynamic movements and the ability to quickly stabilize and react depending on the terrain.
An obstacle race may have you swinging from monkey bars in one moment to jumping up a high wall in the next. Climbing a mountain may require scrambling on all fours, bracing from the wind and stabilizing your body as you descend rocky, technical terrain and rocks that shift under your feet.
The only real way to train for outdoor events is, well, in the outdoors! No gym can mimic the natural elements and ever changing conditions that could effect your performance better than good ole Mother Nature. Heat, wind, rain, slippery shoes from muddy surfaces, wet clothing, blisters. All real things that happen in the outdoors.
Looking for workout ideas?
Checkout Daily Outdoor Workouts, they create free daily workouts you can do anytime, anywhere!
So what are you waiting for? Time to step away from this box, get outside and go!
– Lauren Jones
Active mama of 2 outdoorsy boys