One of the most important parts of life is exercise, and at The Ridge at Northlake we are committed to redefining what it means to be an active neighborhood. We believe in getting outside and enjoying the moments that mean the most in life with the people you cherish. The vast majority of people do their workouts inside in a gym, but there are countless studies and testimonials that prove outdoor fitness is superior to that done indoors.
Here are 7 benefits of outdoor fitness to consider before your next workout.
Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
The outdoors in of itself is a place that naturally relieves stress and helps us clear our minds. If you add this to the benefits gleaned from regular physical exercise, then you have the perfect opportunity to maximize the advantages.
In one study, found in the peer-reviewed journal, Environmental Science & Technology, the researchers concluded that “compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy.” Many of these feelings and benefits were not recorded for those who exercised indoors. This has to do with a number of factors—a lack of stimuli, scenery, and just plain-old fresh air. The outdoors produces endorphins that give us that revitalized feeling that nothing else does, and it’s all just outside our doors.
Harvard Medical School reported a study in 2015 that compared people’s brain activity who took walks in urban and natural settings. The individuals who walked outdoors in nature were found to have lower activity in the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that is directly connected to rumination and repetitive negative thoughts. These individuals were tested against those that took walks in urban settings.
Outdoor activity increases self esteem more than indoor activities. This doesn’t necessarily mean running or even brisk walking. Simply doing any activity outdoors helps yield these benefits, such as gardening.
A major part of exercise is for your physical health. Regular moderate exercise promotes weight loss, lowers blood pressure, and promotes healthy blood sugar levels. Did you know that working out outdoors is more effective than inside our temperature-controlled and engineered gyms?
Take running, for example. When you run outdoors, the muscles in your ankles have to flex more than they do on a treadmill. This results in increased effort and makes you stronger in the long run (no pun intended). Running outdoors calls for us to run downhill occasionally, and that motion forces us to use muscles that aren’t activated during flat or incline running alone. The same is seen in bike riding. When a bike rider hits the trails, they experience changes in terrain and wind resistance that aren’t present indoors.
One study found that people who exercise outdoors tend to work out longer and more frequently than those who do not.
All those machines, towels, and strangers to share it all with come at a cost. Not a one-time cost, but a monthly cost that builds up over time. When you exercise outdoors at a park, obstacle course, set of trails, or whatever is available to you, there is no cost—just sweat. So, lose the membership fees, trainer fees, and use the public resources that are already at your fingertips.
The outdoors are just beyond the walls you live inside of. There’s no long drive, traffic, or anything that can stop you from going out into your yard or walk to the park. The only limitation that stands in your way in the outdoors is the weather. Unless there’s a storm, you can get out there and exercise.
So Much To Do, So Little Time
With all the space the outdoors has to offer, it can be overwhelming to decide what you will do next. When it comes to outdoor recreation and exercise, the possibilities are endless. You can go the traditional route and simply run, walk, or bike.
Or, you can do a full-body, pyramid-style workout like this:
- 3 sets of pushups where you do half the amount of reps you can do at once.
- 3 sets of squats where you do half the amount of reps you can do at once.
- 3 sets of planks where you do half the amount of time that you can do at once.
- 3 sets of pushups where you do almost the amount of reps you can do at once without failure.
- 3 sets of squats where you do almost the amount of reps you can do at once without failure.
- 3 sets of planks where you do almost the amount of time you can do at once without failure.
This last round will be the hardest of them all. You can do it!
- 3 sets of pushups where you do all the reps you need to achieve failure.
- 3 sets of squats where you do all the reps you need to achieve failure.
- 3 sets of planks where you do the amount of time you need to achieve failure.
When you get outside, you aren’t limited by the equipment indoors—your body is a piece of equipment itself. And just like exercising outdoors, calisthenics and bodyweight movements are more natural than those found among exercise machines.
You’ve probably heard one time or another that the sun is one of the best sources of vitamin D. Well, that still holds to be true. Not only does the sun make your body produce the crucial vitamin D that you need to lower your blood pressure, increase immunity, and maybe even protect against cancer but it also decreases cholesterol. When sunlight hits your skin, it synthesizes cholesterol into vitamin D, thus lowering the cholesterol levels in your body. Say goodbye to Cheerios and hello to the sun.
The sun is linked to decreasing depression, instances of dementia, and prostate cancer. All of these conditions are caused by low levels of vitamin D. So, get out and soak it up.
When you use local parks and trails to get your exercise, one of the many benefits is that you can bring your children and family to enjoy the outdoors with you. One of the most common things that people who don’t go to a gym or have a regular exercise regimen say is that they cannot find proper child care during the time they are working out. This changes when options are either discovered or made available in these individuals’ communities. For example, if there were exercise facilities at a local park adjacent to a children’s play area, parents could work out while their kids play, or even better—the kids could join in on whatever it is their parents are doing. There’s no such thing as too much family time during our tech age, so it’s a great idea to spend time outdoors with one another.
If you’re looking for ways to fit your exercise routine into your life or simply live the active lifestyle you’ve always wanted, stop your search at The Ridge at Northlake. The Ridge is a new community in Northlake, Texas, for active families and individuals who want to experience life at the next level. One of the many innovative outdoor amenities and play areas this community will have is an outdoor ninja workout obstacle course. Stay tuned for more details on our amenities! Fill out our form to stay up to date on the latest offerings and new homes.