Do you get fed up with using the same old gym? Looking at a poster about the latest energy drink that is faded and torn? A guy you see all too often running next to you flicking his sweat as his runs? The same over enthusiastic “gym bunny” hogging the floor area?
Maybe the thought of going to the gym makes you want to run to the fridge and get that last bit of chocolate cake or a beer? Then why not do something different and take your exercise outdoors?
Going outdoors can be more challenging at times but once you are out in your natural environment you will reap the wonderful benefits of doing exercise in the open air. Just 5 mins of exercise outdoors in natural areas can benefit your self-esteem significantly .
The key is to do it at your own pace so that you can transform your lifestyle into the outdoors, to improve your quality of life long term, rather than just having an outdoor fitness fad for those two sunny and warm weeks of the year!
1. Start now
Ok, so this seems pretty simple. But I know what you keep thinking, “I’ll get outside in spring”, then spring comes, “I’ll get outside in the summer”…next thing you know it is autumn and is cold and raining. You convince yourself you’ll do it next year. SO don’t delay and make this start today!
2. Just start with 10 minutes
So once you have agreed with yourself to make that positive start, I want you to realise it doesn’t matter what the weather is today – get out there! We are just going to do 10 minutes, that’s all it is. Everyone has a spare 10 minutes today. So give yourself the time you deserve to exercise your freedom.
3. Just go for a walk
Even if you’re a fitness fanatic, or you’ve exercised outdoors before, I want you just to try walking. Now this isn’t a gentle stroll, this is a very brisk walk. Take long strides, keep your arms bent and swish them by your side. Pick a route either around the block, or to the end of the road and back, whatever is safe and works for you. Preferably pick a route that has a bit of a hill later on in the walk.
4. Wear the right clothing
There is nothing worse than getting absolutely soaked or being really hot and bothered whilst you are trying to concentrate on what it is you are experiencing and trying to achieve. You don’t want to put yourself off revisiting this exercise in future sessions, so make sure you wear the right clothing for the weather; layers are good and preferably bring a rucksack so you can put layers on or take them off as you go along.
5. Take a note of the moment!
Try to focus on taking in the moment. A lot of people go for a walk and mull over an argument or a situation. But if you can occupy your mind with what you are experiencing, even for just 5 minutes of the walk, you will be free of those day to day trivial challenges you come into contact with for that time. You will then feel calmer and more able to approach those challenges with a level head when the time comes .
A tip to taking in the moment
First of all I want you to try and focus on feeling the ground beneath your feet. Once you are fully engaged with this sensation of walking, then observe your breath (trying not to control it). Relax into this for a moment and begin to feel the movement of air on your skin, the smells it might carry and then the scenery around you.
Even if you are in an urban environment, just being in the moment and focusing on what you can see and feel will bring you the mental benefits you may have been searching for, as well as the physical improvements from engaging with this exercise.
So now you’ve done it – how did it go? Well whether good, difficult or ok I want you to stick with 10 minutes for the week. Trying to do 10 minutes every day will mean you are more likely to stick to it than just once a week.
Then once you have done that for a week, try on a couple of the days taking it up to 20 minutes, and just take it from there!