5 Workouts To Take Out Of The Gym And Into Nature

Healthy living isnít one size fits all. Many people find success with maintaining a healthy way of life through a variety of different diets, workouts and lifestyles.

After graduation from college, I found it challenging to lose the weight I had gained during school, and to eat healthy and keep fit. I believed that if I wanted to be fit, I had to hit the gym regularly and only eat salads.

It wasnít until I stepped out of the gym ó and this mindset ó and spent time creating and developing tasty, healthy recipes and started exercising in nature that I found success.

I began taking my workouts outside the four, sweaty walls of a traditional gym and exercising outdoors. One year and 50 pounds later, thereís nothing better to me than finishing a workout with a victorious breath of fresh air.

With summer approaching, thereís no better time than now to ditch the gym and head outside. Here are five different workouts you can do in nature.

Trail running (Photo by Robin McConnell, CC BY 2.0)Trail running (Photo by Robin McConnell, CC BY 2.0)

Trail running

Itís time to take your treadmill run onto natureís tread.

Trail running is a great way to enjoy nature and challenge yourself. Running in nature is generally more stimulating than running indoors, since you need to adjust your pace and stride based on the terrain. Itís also likely that you will burn more calories running outdoors thanks to the varying degrees of incline and decline. Trail running provides a more sensory and visually interesting run, and you feel like youíre actually getting somewhere, because you are.

While on your run, give plogging a try. Plogging, a combination of jogging and picking up litter, is a new trend dashing across the world. Not only will you feel the burn in your glutes, legs and arms, but you’ll also help keep nature clean!

Doing the Doing the “crescent lunge” on a rock that bison at OMB rub themselves on (Photo by NCC)

Yoga

Thereís something special about taking a deep, soothing ujjayi breath of air.

According to a Swedish study, seeing elements of nature around you, especially fractals (for example, the geometric patterns of tree branches and fern leaves), can increase your wakeful relaxation ó feeling relaxed but still connected and mindful ó and internal focus, both of which are important parts of your yoga practice.

HITT circuit training (in the park)

Children doing exercises consisting of a variety of gross motor movements ó crunching, running, standing, grasping, pushing, etc. (Photo by U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons) Children doing exercises consisting of a variety of gross motor movements ó crunching, running, standing, grasping, pushing, etc. (Photo by U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons)

Immersing yourself in nature has its benefits, and when you add in exercise youíre doing your body and mind a whole lot of good.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to get in an effective workout in a short period of time. This training technique involves intense bursts of exercise, such as jumping jacks or squats, followed by a low-intensity activity, such as walking or rest. HIIT also comes with metabolic benefits and has been proven to elevate metabolism, improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood pressure.

Since the majority of HIIT workouts donít require equipment, they can be done anywhere. By taking this workout outdoors youíre breathing in fresh air, decreasing your stress and increasing your energy level.

Weight and strength training

Weight training in park (Photo by Javierlayus, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Weight training in park (Photo by Javierlayus, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Weight and strength training is a great way to improve heart health and endurance, body composition and increase strength. Like HIIT, these short workouts are packed with benefits. When you take this workout into your backyard or nearby natural space using free weights or your own body weight, youíre increasing the good youíre doing for your body.

Weight training has been shown to improve mood, and so does spending time outdoors. So, give your mood a double shot of happiness by taking your weights into nature.

Spinning

Biking on the Polecat Loop in the Ridge to Rivers trail system, Boise, Idaho (Photo by BLMIdaho, CC BY 2.0)

Biking on the Polecat Loop in the Ridge to Rivers trail system, Boise, Idaho (Photo by BLMIdaho, CC BY 2.0)

One of my favorite workouts is spinning (indoor cycling), mainly because they mimic outdoor riding (such as climbing and downhill power pedalling).

Why not get the real deal by hopping on two wheels and hitting a bike path, nearby forest or by pedalling around your neighbourhood? Riding your bike is a great way to explore the outdoors, and itís good for your heart health. This low-impact exercise is an excellent alternative to driving and taking public transit; not only are you getting natureís benefits, youíre giving back to nature too! Be sure to cycle only in areas where it is permitted, and be careful not to disturb the surrounding environment by widening the trail or going off trail.

Incorporating nature into my workouts and developing healthy eating habits is what helped me achieve weight loss success and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Not only do I see a difference on the scale, I feel lighter ó both physically and mentally ó each time I throw on my workout gear and head into the forest.

Try taking your workout outdoors. You might be surprised by what you discover both there and in yourself.

This post was written by Raechel Bonomo and originally appeared on the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s blog, Land Lines.

Post photo: Yoga in nature (Photo by Matthew Ragan, CC BY-SA 2.0)

64 comments

Cindy S
Cindy S2 days ago

thanks

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Lesa D
Lesa D10 days ago

thank you Raechel...

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Vincent T
Vincent T10 days ago

Thank you

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Danii P
Danii P11 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Danii P
Danii P11 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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iskrica k
iskrica knezevic15 days ago

Thank you!!

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Ramesh B
Ramesh B17 days ago

Thankyou

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Leo Custer
Leo C18 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Olivia M
Olivia M19 days ago

thank you

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heather g
heather g20 days ago

It rains for most of the year in the Lower Mainland - freezing cold or windy. Best to exercise indoors.

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