How taking my Workouts outside has affected my Mood and Stress Level

the benefits of outdoor workouts

I was an at-home workout lover before quarantine made working out at home a (inevitable) thing. Having the freedom to work out whereever and whenever I please, and having a vast variety of online fitness offerings at my fingertips just totally fits my lifestyle. Lately though, I discovered the joy of outdoor workouts. And it has totally changed my fitness game!

When the pandemic hit in March, you could say I was a little bit in a workout rut. I had recently transitioned from soely relying on YouTube fitness videos to designing my own workouts and doing more meditative movement. For multiple reasons: First of all, my knees just had it with all the high-intensity squat-and-lunges-heavy workouts . Secondly, I discovered how much more energized I felt doing a combination of low impact workouts, light cardio, and stretching. Which brings me to my last point: stretching! So vital, yet so neglected by many online programs.

the benefits of outdoor workouts

Even though I had designed my workout routine to my liking, I still lacked the excitement I once had for exercising. I was mostly drawn to getting outside in the morning and hit the pavement. So that’s what I did (without questioning it). It helped me a lot with my anxiety in lockdown and I felt more stressed and uneasy when I skipped out on that.

Still, I missed getting on the mat for some strengthening moves. And I missed the light soreness it gave me. A feeling that has a deeply satisfying effect on me. Like I’ve already done something good for myself and my body that day.

And then a lightbulb went off (yes, sometimes it takes a little bit longer with me). Why not take my mat outside to do an outdoor workout? So the next morning I brought my mat ouside to our terrace. On the brim of going all in again, I decided to take the pressure out of it and instead just followed what came up for me. And you know what? It felt amazing! Not only was I sore the next morning, but I also felt totally energized throughout the day. Not sluggish at all like I usually would after a crazy HIIT workout.

outdoor workouts have a soothing effect on your nervous system and lower your cortisol levels

After going through a lot of up and downs with my relationship to my body and how I approached fitness and wellness, I’ve finally came to the conclusion that I don’t have to be drenched in sweat to have a successful workout. This has worked wonders with managing my stress level and my inner restlessness.

By solely relying on high intensity workouts, I was constantly putting stress on my body. Which is a great thing practiced moderatetly (because working out always puts stress on your body). But when overdone it can lead to high cortisol levels. Which, in turn, leads to weight gain and a slower metabolism (and actually so much more!).

I didn’t neccessarily gain a lot of weight as I’m naturally a healthy eater. But I constantly felt bloated and my digestion was totally off. Add the stressor of running a business and you find yourself in a vicious cycle (which also lead to some unhealthy binge eating phases).

start your day calm with outdoor workout

By doing outdoor workouts, I reaped the soothing benefits of connecting with nature first thing in the morning. Something that’s scientifically proven (and why I also took my office outside). And I honored my body’s needs by only doing movements that felt right yet challenging (and contributing a big chunk to stretching). I also took the need to go as fast through my movements as possible out of the equation. Giving me more time to focus on the exercises and the correct form, which, in the long run, will be much more beneficial to my fitness.

What you need for a successful outdoor workout

Taking your workout outside needs a little preperation to get the most out of it. Here are my top tips for a successful outdoor workout:

  1. USE A MAT YOU CAN EASILY CLEAN AFTERWARDS – I first used my suede yoga mat but then realized that’s not exactly the best choice for outdoor workouts. Chances are you are brining lots of dirt onto your mat (even without too much jumping around). So make sure to use a mat you can wipe clean with a wet cloth afterwards. I know prefer using my Lululemon mat when working out outside.
  2. PICK AN EVEN SPOT – It doesn’t matter if you are working out on the grass or your outside terrace. Just make sure you pick an even spot. Nothing is more uncomfortable than laying down on your back just to realize there are holes underneath you.
  3. DON’T BE AFRAID OF INSECTS – You are outside so insects will inevitably be part of the game. It can get annoying when you are in the midst of a plank exercise and there is an ant running down your arms or legs. You can use an anti-repellent before your workout. But they will likely also run all over your mat. I admit this takes some time getting used to to but the benefits of working out in nature definitely outplays that.
  4. WEAR COMFY ACTIVEWEAR – Don’t you feel more inspired to work out when you wear cute & comfy activewear? I definitely do! And even though it’s summer, I still like to wear my FABSOUL Fitness Leggings! They are just so incredibly comfy, light, and soft that I feel optimally supported no matter if I decide to do a yoga flow or some Pilates moves.
  5. BRING SOME (COCONUT) WATER – Hydration is key to make your summer outdoor workout a success! I especially love coconut water. It naturally replenishes your electrolytes and just feels so refreshing on a hot summer day. Sometimes I like to add a little pineapple and lemon juice. Talk about inviting the beach into your backyard!

I’ve also rediscovered ankle weights and have been incorporating them more into my workouts lately. Will share my favorite moves over on my Insta story soon, so make sure to follow me on Instagram.

what you need for a successful outdoor workout

Those are my two cents for #wellnesswednesday ! What has your workout routine looked like lately? Have you transitioned back to the gym or stuck to your at-home workouts?

Signatur Madeleine

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s