Three simple ways to utilize the season for fitness inspiration
While an indoor targeted workout or organized class can be a wonderful way to manage your health, the great outdoors has just as much (if not more) to offer.
Green exercise (movement practiced in nature) can have positive effects on the mind and body that extend beyond the benefits of exercise inside.
In addition to regulating weight, strengthening the cardiovascular system, managing stress, and preventing disease, outdoor workouts can also:
- strengthen the immune system
- reduce stress and inflammation
- enhance mood and provide clarity
- provide a restorative experience
- increase longevity
This form of nature therapy is available right out your door, so if your typical workout has become monotonous, consider changing it up by letting the outdoors be your guide.
One way to do this is to use the seasons to inspire your movement.
1. Daylight versus darkness
Longer days and shorter nights in spring and summer provide more time for outdoor activities, making early morning and late day exercise easy for a busy schedule. Seek out sports or movement that can be difficult to fit in at other times of the year.
Conversely, diminished daylight in fall and winter may encourage time outside during lunches, breaks, or weekends.
Gyms can offer a comfortable set temperature 365 days a year, but nature cannot. Rather than worrying if you will get too cold, too hot, too wet, etc., let the weather influence your choice of movement.
With the right gear, snow can be perfect for a serene snowshoe, warm sunshine can make way for a day on the lake, and drizzle can inspire a refreshing hike.
Embrace the weather and see where it takes you. You may be surprised at how easily you adapt.
3. Changes in surroundings
Kayaking a snow-melt stream in spring, hiking through wildflowers in summer, biking around neighborhoods with turning leaves in autumn, and cross-country skiing next to a frozen lake in winter can put us in touch with what is happening in the natural world and encourage us to live seasonally.
Take a moment to recognize how nature is changing and use it to your advantage when exercising outdoors. An intentional transition from season to season can help with this.
Explore your environment and get healthy at the same time – you may be pleasantly surprised at what the world has to offer right outside your door.