What is the best way to safely exercise outside during the pandemic and why is it important to go outdoors?
Many people (though certainly not all) spend their workdays indoors under fluorescent lights, in front of computers, then return home to bask in the glow of the television and phone screen. This is even more so for those living in states with shelter in place or stay at home orders.
Is it ok to go outside during stay at home orders?
The short answer is yes. The general recommendation is that it is ok to go outside as long as you continue to practice the recommended social distancing strategies. There are a lot of health benefits to exercising outdoors or even just taking a quick walk.
Should you wear a face mask when exercising outside?
It is always recommended to wear a mask if there is a chance that you may be near other people. This could include when on hiking trails or popular open areas. It is always a good idea to try and avoid those places at peak hours.
If you are running, biking or working out on your own, keep a safe distance from others and do not use public equipment. It is always a good idea to keep hand sanitizer with you.
Why you should exercise outside (or at least get some fresh air)
Taking a walk (or run) in nature has been shown to boost memory. A study conducted by the University of Michigan found that people who took a walk in nature as opposed to those who walked in the city scored 20% better on memory tests.
Less Mental Fatigue
Sittig inside all day can seem draining. In fact, it really might be. Exposing your brain to “restorative environments” like the outdoors can help you get back into the groove. Even photos of nature have been shown to help, but is there any real substitute for the real thing?
Fight Depression and Anxiety
Getting outside can brighten your day, and not just because of the sunlight. "Every green environment improved both self-esteem and mood," found an analysis of 10 earlier studies about so-called "green exercise." That review also indicated that "the mentally ill had one of the greatest self-esteem improvements.
You May be More Creative
Multiple studies have shown that getting outside can spark creativity. It is hard to find inspiration stuck in the same place. Moving around outside could be the inspiration you have been looking for.
Mood-Boosting Natual Light
A little sunlight can go a long way. Daily exposure to natural lighting is linked to positive mood, energy, better sleep and overall wellbeing. Studies have proven over and over, that natural light helps the body stick closer to its circadian rhythm and that workplaces have much higher staff morale when employees have exposure to natural light, such as windows. Could opening the blinds be the difference between a good day and bad day? Creating a chill environment seems like a nice way to up the zen factor.
Exercises you can do outside
There are plenty of ways to get in a decent workout regardless of what kind of space you are in. Working out outside could supercharge the mental benefits of exercise endorphins by adding in all of the other positive impacts of fresh air.
Are you in need of some cardio, but running isn’t your thing? Check out the nearest hiking trails or paths in your area. Many states frown on driving to hiking trails, but there are likely some paths you don’t even know about within a mile or two. Download the free app ALL TRAILS for some great options in your area. Try not to be on trails during peak times and if the trail is narrow, wear a mask.
Get on your bike and ride! Don’t forget to wear a helmet. Bikers should always ride in the street with cars when possible (assuming you aren’t on a bike trail), which will help you maintain six feet from the nearest pedestrian. Make sure to bring water and please don’t spit on the sidewalk.
What could be more zen than yoga in the great outdoors? It does not even have to be alongside a park or mountain trail. If you have a balcony in your apartment or a backyard, that could be the perfect place to get in your yoga practice.
Advanced Tree Workout
Are you looking to change it up? Do you have access to a sturdy tree that you can use instead of standard gym equipment? Here is a workout you can do with a tree. It’s not for everyone but could be fun. Bring your resistance band and wall ball (soft medicine ball)
- Resistance Band Rows
If you are missing your row machine, place your resistance band around your tree and use the tree as an anchor for your upper body rows.
- Hand Stand Push-Ups
Instead of potentially crashing into the dining room table, do your handstand push-ups against the tree. Walk up the tree with your feet until they are upright just like you would on a wall. You do not have to have your handstand mastered to try this, but you do need to be able to do a push-up!
- Wall Ball
This is a great option for those who really shouldn’t be throwing a medicine ball against any of the walls in your home, especially if you live in an adjoined unit like an apartment, townhome or duplex. Make sure your tree is sturdy enough to not bend at all when you throw the wall ball.
This takes a special kind of tree, but if you find one with a low hanging, sturdy branch that you can grab, feel free to do your pull-ups there. Do not be tempted to use the metal workout or playground equipment in the parks. Those are currently off-limits.
Not everyone is built for speed, but running is a great option to stay in shape no matter how fast you are going. It may be difficult to run with a mask on, so try to find a route with few people, but as always, keep a mask and hand sanitizer close by.
Push-ups, squats, lunges, sit-ups and other bodyweight exercises can often be done outside as easily as just about anywhere and are a great option for any workout routine. Remember not to use community equipment like benches or pull up bars. You may also opt to bring your own mat or towel. The fresh air will make it worth your while.
How to Keep Motivated and Moving?
It is important to stay motivated during these crazy times. Staying active is a large part of staying healthy. Try and establish a weekly routine that is fun and easy to maintain. Keep your soreness to a minimum and focus high with help from Receptra Serious Relief Targeted Topical™ + Arnica and Serious Relief Tincture + Turmeric!