Our new contributor, Lara Milward is co-founder of local outdoor fitness company BlitzFitness; she is going to share fitness and healthy living tips with our readers. This week she writes about the benefits of training outside, in all weathers.
BlitzFitness has been training people outside for 10 years now; all fitness levels in all weathers and we have kept going year round because once you’ve joined nature’s gym you won’t want to cancel the membership. It’s low cost, easily accessible and always interesting!
We have incorporated many different ways of training from skipping ropes and kettlebells to tag ruby and guerrilla walks; all of which can be done outdoors. Park benches, hills, trees and logs all become part of your daily life. We love the fact that as soon as everyone is a bit muddy, grassy and sweaty much of our daily ‘armour’ is left behind and barriers – social, emotional and mental – soon fall away. It’s a licence for adults to play and be themselves. We do believe some of the best friendships are made ‘in the field’.
Outdoor scenery is much softer on the eye than the often aggressive & crowded urban environment. Changes of scenery reduce feelings of monotony often associated with exercising indoors and natural environments have more diverse objects of interest to nourish and replenish attention and focus. Exposure to sunlight is of course, vital for Vitamin D which not only promotes healthy bone growth but also facilitates immunity, improves resistance to some diseases and has been shown to reduce cases of anxiety and depression. Truly the ‘sunshine vitamin’.
Paul Hough, Lecturer & Lead Sport and Exercise Scientist at St Mary’s University London states that there is an increasing awareness that exposure to natural environments has a positive impact on mental wellbeing. Coupling that benefit with the benefits of regular physical exercise has led to studies that state there may be an additive benefit of exercising outdoors beyond those benefits felt from exercising indoors. Studies by Thomson Coon et al in 2011 reported greater feelings of vitality and enjoyment as well as reduction in tiredness, tension and stress from exercising outdoors. Fresh air and increased oxygen consumption cause your body to produce more serotonin (the feelgood chemical)
And finally, you burn more calories outdoors due to wind resistance, high or low temperatures and changing terrain which makes you work harder.
So what’s not to like? Grab a friend and #getoutside!