The sun is shining, flowers are in full bloom, and daylight is extending into the evening hours—it’s officially summertime!
For our community in the Northern Hemisphere, now is the perfect time to take your fitness journey outside and make the most of these warm, sunny days. There are a few things you need to keep in mind to make sure your outdoor activities are safe this year, but as long as you take the proper precautions you can still enjoy all that nature has to offer. Whether you jog through your neighborhood, take a hike in the woods, or head to the beach for a swim, outdoor exercise can give you the boost you need this summer.
Here are 5 benefits of getting fit in the great outdoors:
1. It improves your mood.
Research suggests that spending time in nature (even as little as 5 minutes!) can help reduce levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. A change of scenery can produce a mental reset, so if you feel low or experience cabin fever, we suggest stepping outside for some physical activity. A quick walk around the block can be just what you need to shift your focus and your mood.
2. Your workout will be more dynamic.
Exercise machines are designed to encourage specific movements, which, when repeated over and over again, can eventually cause muscle fatigue, and workout plateaus. You can prevent this with outdoor activities where the terrain is uncertain and constantly changing. By challenging your body to adjust to shifting conditions, you will begin to strengthen the connective tissue of your muscles, which may help prevent overuse injuries.
3. You can burn more calories.
Because a changing environment causes more variation in your exercise routine, your muscles need to constantly adapt their velocity of movement. As a result, your body will naturally increase its energy output in order to maintain an effective work rate. This means that you will actually burn more calories for the same cardio exercises you would complete on a gym machine!
4. It strengthens your immune system.
Exposing your skin to the sun is one of the best natural methods of boosting your body’s supply of vitamin D. Also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” having enough of this micronutrient is essential for maintaining your health.
Vitamin D not only promotes the bone and muscle strength necessary for fitness, but also plays a key role in your immune system. There is evidence to suggest that vitamin D deficiency is connected to a wide range of illnesses, including multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and even influenza. So slather on some sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher!) and get outside for a healthy dose of direct sunlight.
5. You can save money.
Summer is the perfect time to pick up a more affordable outdoor activity that helps clear your head and get your heart pumping. There is no need to invest in expensive gear to achieve an effective workout!
The fit52 method is a perfect example of this—all you need is your phone and a pair of dumbbells to get a dynamic full-body workout right in your backyard. The best gym is right outside your door, so get out there and make the most of it!