After 4 years of competing as a Division 1 athlete at East Carolina University and a life time of competing in organized sports, I was ready for a change this summer. Although the thought of no longer being a college athlete is bittersweet, I was ready to take control of my body and my workout plan. The thing is, I no longer have to train to be a basketball player or a pole vaulter.
So, I decided to ditch the gym this summer and take my workouts outdoors — and it was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made! Here’s why.
1. It’s FREE
Mother nature has no gym membership plan and no sign up fee. Unless you join Planet Fitness, a gym that offers a $10 per month plan, it is going to cost you about $35 a month or more for a basic membership. This was one of my biggest reasons for heading outdoors this summer. Why not take advantage of the biggest free gym in the world?
2. Fresh Air
It is no secret that fresh air is good for you, it’s a natural way to energize your body and your mind. I would take the sweet fresh air smell over a stinky gym with sweat covered equipment any day!
3. No Excuses
There is absolutely no excuse to miss a workout when you workout outside. There are no gym hours to have to work around so you can get your workout in at any time. Unless it is lightning for 24 hours straight, there is no reason you can’t go for a run in the rain. Hey I think it is fun to run around in the rain any way.
4. You Get a Tan
If you do your workout during the day you can maintain a nice a tan while working out. It’s like laying at the pool except burning calories while you do it! Remember to wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen every time! Plus Vitamin D is a good thing and our best source of it is from the sun!
5. It Makes You Happy
Having a good workout makes your feel good, but when you finish a killer workout outside it makes you feel even better! Research shows that only 5 minutes of “green” exercise can boost mental health.
6. Endless Options
There is nothing that you do inside a gym that you can’t find a way to do outside! You can turn any place into a gym, be creative! Experiment with body weight exercises like push ups, lunges, chin ups and jumping squats. And when you are at the pool don’t just lay there, when you jump in to cool off swim some laps while you are in there!
7. You Can Be Social
Invite a friend to join you for a bike ride or hike together so you can catch up but still get your work out in! I also suggests trying some sports that you may not have ever played before. I really got hooked on tennis this summer. It is a great workout and a fun competitive game to play with friends.
Remember: Even if you only take your dog for a 5 minute walk something is better than nothing! So get up and get moving!
I completely understand if you would not want to ditch the gym completely! But rather than spending all summer in the gym at least try to take a lot of your workouts outside!