Summer is a great time for the beach, good times with family and friends, vacations, and yes – outdoor fitness!
This is especially true if you live in the Northeast with our brutal and long winters. The summer is a wonderful break from the frigid conditions in the winter.
Not only does outdoor fitness present an opportunity for a fun change of pace, but there are several advantages, too!
1. Vitamin D
On the aggregate, research shows that more than 40% of America is Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is essential for optimal functioning and evidence supports that deficiency may increase risk for several chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
If you don’t work a job where you’re outside much of the day, getting outside with some outdoor fitness is a great way to get that essential vitamin D.
This could include going for a run, taking a yoga class outside, doing calisthenics in the park, or working with a coach! (1)
2. Heat Exposure*
While the benefits of short duration extreme heat exposure, such as sauna use, are well documented, there is also benefit to more “moderate” heat exposure.
Recent research from the Journal of Applied Physiology shows that, independent of exercise, repeated exposure to heat closer to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (compared to the 180 to 200 degrees in a sauna) can elicit improvements in the function of your mitochondria! This means an improved ability to generate energy in your cells, leading to greater health and in particular reduced risk for diseases related to aging.
When combined with exercise, these effects are seen at an even greater level! (2)
This is very important for two reasons: fighting boredom and continued progress. When you’ve been doing the same thing for some time, a natural complacency sets in. Even if you’re practicing good training principles of periodically varying exercises, intensity, duration, planes of motion, range of motion, etc. (if you aren’t, address that first, but that’s for another article)!
When you’re doing outdoor fitness, you have the opportunity to literally go outside the box – all those machines and weights you had inside aren’t around, so what do you do?
Getting out of your comfort zone is key to sustaining progress over years and decades of continued training.
When you’re outside, you might find that training with odd objects, calisthenics, running, or other modalities suited for the outdoors challenge and invigorate you in ways you never knew!
While all exercise can be fun, and everyone has their own preferences, there’s something extra special about moving around outside that brings out the kid in you! Even if you’re just doing the same thing you always do in a gym, exercising outdoors brings a whole new energy.
If you enjoy running, it’s no secret the amazing views and scenery you can feast your eyes on that have eluded you all winter!
The whole category of odd object training like tire flips, sandbag exercise, battle ropes, sled pulling or pushing have a kind-of inherent fun that’s best captured in the sun.
The videos above show a few of our clients training while having some fun in the sun!
Outdoor Fitness Is the Way to Go This Summer!
Interested in training outside but don’t know where to start or need to be held accountable? Hire a coach! We offer concierge wellness services that come to you!
*Disclaimer: Heat exhaustion, heat stroke, sunburn, sun poisoning, melanoma, and dehydration are very real concerns that must be kept in mind in the summer months.
For a more complete guide on staying safe in the summer heat, check out this detailed guide from Consumer Reports on safety in the summer sun when exercising.
Written by Will Hansen, NSCA-CPT, Golden Home Fitness Director of Operations