What could be better than taking in the sunlight, jogging in a brisk breeze and getting some fresh air to get in shape?
April and all its’ showers are finally here. That means warm, sunny weather is just around the corner. This is the time of year when most of us try to get our swimsuit bodies ready for summer. This is also the perfect time of year to take your workout outdoors.
Many studies show that exercising outdoors is good for a person’s mental health. The University of Essex conducted a study that they called “Green Exercise” because working out outdoors saves electricity by skipping the machines at the gym. The researchers found that participating in any kind of physical activity outdoors increases a person’s mental well-being, even in a city. The subjects who participated in the study were found to be the most happy when exercising near water. The study also found that only five minutes of physical activity outside is enough to reduce stress and make a person that much happier.
On a second thought, gym memberships can be expensive. If you have a membership and you’re not going to the gym at least 3-4 days a week, you could be wasting your money, especially considering the initiation fees you have to pay just to sign up. Not to mention the lines you have to wait in for a specific machine, then the time limit you have once you finally get to use it.
Gyms are also home to many germs. Gym employees typically do everything they can to keep their gyms sanitary, but germs still exist where hundreds of people are using the same equipment. The gym could also be a danger zone when the seasons change and colds and flues start to go around.
Lastly, going to the gym can be time-consuming. By the time you make your commute, find a parking spot, wait in line for all of the machines you would like to use, then drive back home, you could end up finding that 2 or 3 hours of your day is gone.
Exercising outdoors is free, stress-reducing, and refreshing.
Take advantage of what West Virginia has to offer. Consider taking up canoeing or kayaking, which is great for upper body strength. Our very own Morgantown is full of steep hills that would make for a challenging uphill work out.
The Rail Trail is a wonderful, scenic trail that takes you past the Mon. River and through South Park. There are numerous places to hop on this trail so the scenery never gets boring.
Besides the typical jog, hiking or cycling would also be great physical outdoor activities to get into. With warm weather just around the corner, Cooper’s Rock would be a good place to take friends and family on a little adventure.
On the other hand, a lot of us are busy, and we spend most of our days indoors at work. Let me pass along a few ideas to get in a little outdoors exercise while on the commute.
If you drive yourself to work, park as far away as you can from the building. Then, briskly walk to the entrance. Those few extra minutes can make a difference in your day.
If you take the bus, get off at either the stop before or the stop after your original stop and walk the rest of the way. These tips can serve for any of your destinations whether it is a trip to the grocery store or the dry cleaners.
Remember to always be safe. Don’t take anything for granted, even a well-lit park or a bike trail. If you can, try to take a friend with you for a jog or bike ride, or at least make sure to always go during day light hours. If you choose to run along the streets, beware of the traffic and wear reflective gear. They aren’t always looking out for you! Last but not least, enjoy your workout! Your summer body will be back in no time!