Get High: Why Exercising Outside is Better

Definition – fit·ness: /fitnəs/ : biological

An organism’s ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment.

Ditch the gym. Fuel your passion for fitness, engage your senses, and reconnect with the fearless kid you used to be.

Explore

Visit parks and trails you haven’t been to before. Even the most basic city has parks. The perk to exercising outdoors is you will ALWAYS get a killer workout no matter where you are. But for me, I use my outdoor days as an excuse to explore somewhere I haven’t been. I’m always trying new hikes and trails. Simply running on uneven surfaces can do wonders for your body.

trail running commit

 

You may not live near the mountains or by a coast. Find a park with some stairs or a jungle gym to climb around on. Don’t count out schools either. Schools typically have a track for ground sprints and bleachers for stair sprints.. two killer exercises that are sure to keep you from walking straight the next day. 🙂

“But Ericaaaaaa, I only have 30 minutes left of daylight when I get off work.” First, stop whining. You have a job. Second, invest in a jump rope. You can get the best workout of your life with just a jump rope and some pavement.

Try this:

  • 30 x 12 Speed Jump Rope (30 seconds jumping, 12 times) with 10 second rests
  • 20 Burpees
  • 30 Second Speed Jump Rope
  • 30 Mountain Climbers
  • 30 Second Speed Jump Rope
  • 10 Push-ups
  • 30 Second Speed Jump Rope
  • 10 Push-ups
  • 30 Second Speed Jump Rope
  • 30 Mountain Climbers
  • 30 Second Speed Jump Rope
  • 20 Burpees
  • 30 x 12 Speed Jump Rope (Decrease intensity)

This workout takes less than 20 minutes; even that small amount of time can clear your mind and activate your muscles and keep you burning calories for up to 48 hours.

 

Rejuvenate 

I know that I’m not the first person to point out the health benefits of fresh air and sunshine. Countless studies have proven that spending time outdoors promote a stronger, healthier body, and a calmer, happier mind.

However, I might be the first person to call you an idiot for not taking advantage of this natural medicine we have all around us! Spending time outdoors has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce levels of cortisol- the stress hormone, improve immunity and length of life. We are natural being; we thrive in a natural environment. The mind benefits from natures warm hugs too! Tension, anger and depression decrease dramatically leaving more room for playfulness and laughter. 🙂

I could tell you about the millions of studies that have been conducted on this topic but none of that matters if it doesn’t get you outside. I may not have numbers and graphs measuring dopamine levels but I do have real life experiences. I try to exercise outdoors 2-4 times per week so I am a pretty reliable source. When I’m outside I can’t help but be happy to simply be alive and well. I think people call that “high on life.” 🙂

So lace up your kicks and get HIGH!

 

Unplug

Leave your smartphone in your car. Don’t be tempted to check your Instagram or take a selfie with your new Nikes. Unplug from the craziness and get in touch with mother nature. Listen to your surroundings and breathe in the fresh air. Engage your senses.

In addition to thinking about your surroundings, feel what’s going on in your body.  For instance, when you run or squat a certain way, what muscles do you feel activating? Then see how it feels when you make a slight adjustment to your form. Understand how your body is supposed to work and then teach it to do so. Also, pay attention to how you adjust your cadence or form to changes in the terrain beneath your feet — maybe you run one way on rocks or pebbles, another way when you’re on dirt, and yet another way on a path covered with leaves. Practicing body awareness can make you less likely to get injured. With all of your senses activated, you’re in the moment of what’s happening in your body and around you. You’ll move faster and better, and with your mind-body systems in sync, you’ll be less likely to get hurt.

 

Be a Kid

There are no rules when you’re in the world’s gym! Let go, have fun and try new things. When you’re outside don’t be afraid to be creative. When I see a bench or a railing I’ll try variations of push-ups or handstands, even jumps and lunges. I often find a killer exercises that I take back to the gym with me.

©11th Door Photography

Uneven services activate underutilized muscles in a way that a flat surface cannot do. Try running on rocky surfaces, dirt, grass, etc. Anything that your body isn’t ready for.

Grab a friend. Partner workouts are a great way to challenge yourself while acting goofing off. Choose someone more experienced in an activity you want to learn, such as hiking, playing tennis, kayaking, mountain biking, trail running or rock climbing. Get out of your comfort zone!

 

Temperatures in Denver have exceeded 50 degrees 7 out of the past 14 days (as of January 27th).

This is Denver. We get 50, 60, even 70 degree days all winter long here. Sure, there are plenty of days when it is just too cold. I grew up in Minnesota so I know all about a runny nose and frozen toes. But don’t miss the nice ones. Get high, fit and healthy!

 

 

Here’s a couple of oldies to strike your creativity! Happy Humpday!

 

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