The Benefits of Exercising Outside
Indoor exercise classes are still a little way off as we ease out of our latest lockdown. But did you know that the benefits of exercising outdoors are tenfold. Yes, exercising outside has been found to reduce stress and mental fatigue as well as improve our moods. So as we open up our Buggy Fitness, Tuff Mumma's and Outdoor Fitness classes this week, our wellbeing guru Jen Wood chatted to Restoration Yard's in-house fitness expert and personal trainer Suzanne Maynard about the benefits of exercising outside. Enjoy their five minute fitness boosting chat!
What’s the best thing about exercising outdoors?
Exercising outdoors has so many benefits for both physical and mental health. I believe lockdowns have had a massive impact on our mental health and our confidence. Also, many of us are simply missing the group interaction from our gyms and exercise classes. There are also some who are unsure as to how to return to exercise safely and in line with the advice from the government. People may need some support and friendly encouragement and motivation to get back into an exercising habit. I love training outdoors. I have a young family and being outside gives me head space and time to myself, while allowing me to recharge. I’m always encouraging people to get outside and embrace the good Scottish weather.
In my personal training sessions with you, you've taught me to smash through my ‘exercising in the rain’ avoidance and I really appreciate that. I can’t say it’s been easy, but once I’m out there I feel great!
Exactly Jen! It’s about feeling the fear and doing it anyway. When we break through our blocks and avoidance strategies, we feel a sense of achievement which stays with us all day. It builds up our inner resilience, confidence and stamina, which are fantastic skills to build as they are transferable across our everyday roles and responsibilities. When we get that dopamine hit and feel the endorphins that release during exercise, we can learn to use this to help us break through other blocks we might have.
That sounds very like what I tell my clients in therapy sessions too. Stack healthy habits and feel the small wins - building up to a real feeling of achievement and satisfaction. It’s great for self-esteem.
With my clients I use a similar approach, getting them to identify short, medium and long-term goals. We use this to monitor progress, to maintain motivation and build confidence in their abilities.
I’ve certainly toned up and feel stronger since exercising outdoors. Is this always the case?
Yes, when we train outdoors we can vary the intensity by using different terrain, hills and outdoor ‘furniture’ such as fallen trees/tree stumps, picnic tables, benches, climbing frames and play park equipment. It adds a fun challenge and then throw in the wind for added natural resistance, which in turn builds mental stamina.
How does Buggy Fitness benefit mental as well as physical health?
The classes are tailored to support postnatal recovery and contain exercises specially selected to burn fat, build cardiovascular fitness, while strengthening and toning muscle groups. All this enables us to cope with the demands of motherhood. I am a qualified pre and postnatal coach and have combined my knowledge with my experience as a mother of two young boys when developing these classes. I understand the challenges of the postnatal period and how we can become isolated. This is why it is important to get outdoors and meet up with others at a similar stage in life to us.
Are Buggy Fitness and Tuff Mumma's classes just for mums?
No, all parents or carers are welcome – Buggy Fitness classes are for those who want to get or remain fit while pushing a buggy. It’s a great way to boost your wellbeing, spend time with your little ones while getting fit and meeting new people. All you need is a buggy and an open mind – and perhaps some waterproofs.
Get fit outside. Join one of our new , small and socially distanced outdoor classes.
Jen Wood is an emotional wellbeing coach, psychotherapist and mindfulness teacher with 20 years’ experience. She is also our Wellbeing Consultant at Dalkeith Country Park. Jen offers individual wellbeing coaching, therapy and mindfulness sessions via Zoom or by phone.
For more information about Jen, visit her website at jenwoodwellbeing.com.