There are so many benefits to exercising outside and the warmer weather in the summer is the perfect time to move your workouts to the garden – or the beach if you are near one (unless of course you are in the middle of a heatwave!).
Some top benefits of exercising alfresco are:
1. It is a Natural Antidepressant
Natural light and sunshine is so good for us, and naturally increases our serotonin levels, a hormone that affects your mood. Exercise itself produces endorphins, another feel-good hormone that boosts your mood and reduces pain. Combine the two and you have the perfect recipe to help alleviate or prevent anxiety and depression. The summer is a great time to be moving outside in the warmer weather but exercising outside in the autumn and winter can also help to ward off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
2. It Challenges Your Body
If you are used to exercising in the gym – running on a treadmill, or lifting weights – or taking part in a group fitness class in a studio, you will not necessarily be required to deal with an uneven floor while you are moving. When you move your workouts outside (running off road, or practising yoga on the grass) the surface is not even and your body will have to adjust accordingly to keep you well balanced. This additional challenge is not only good for your body but also helps to focus you mind on how your body is moving, so you are not on autopilot but instead connecting in with your body as it moves.
3. It Can be Playful
Some women can find exercise anxiety inducing in itself and struggle to commit to a fitness schedule. If this is the case, it can help to get outside and be more playful with movement. It doesn’t have to be a set routine in the gym every time. You can mix things up and go climbing, rambling, or cycling. You can go on the high ropes with your children, go wild water swimming, or try some balancing work on a paddle board. Your ballet workouts will definitely help with the balancing part!
4. It Can be More Sociable
In recent years, the Parkrun has become very popular with both adults and families and this is in part due to the sociable nature of the events. You don’t have to exercise alone at home (though lots of us prefer to do this or find it is more sustainable with our busy lifestyles) but combining exercise with socialising is a healthier alternative to catching up with friends than the wine bar!
5. It is Free!
Moving your body doesn’t need to cost anything (unless you need the accountability and guidance of a fitness expert). You just need to find a safe track, trail, park and use your own bodyweight. No need for that expensive gym membership.
Breaking Ballet’s unique ballet-inspired workouts are tailored for perimenopausal and menopausal women to help them future proof their bodies at the same time as looking after the here and now.
Sarah is the founder of Breaking Ballet, a unique online ballet fitness programme for busy women.
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