I'm all about spending time outdoors. If you have been here before, you probably already know that. Being outside as much as you can has a lot of benefits. A lot of us are forced to spend the majority of the day inside anyway, so be sure to find a way to get outside as much as possible.
I love exploring outdoors and finding ways to use nature as my gym. That's a great way to add a bit spontaneity into my workouts.
To do that and to really learn to enjoy it, there are two things you need to do.
First, get creative.
Second, forget about looking weird.
The next time you are outside on a walk, take a look around you. Is there anything you could push, pull, grab, hang on, jump on, or step on?
What about that bench at the park that you are walking by, the monkey bar at the kid's playground that you are passing on your walk, a hilly street close to your house – is there a way to use them for moving your body?
You will find something like this just about everywhere. Lately I've been enjoying a lot of hilly walks at my neighborhood. The other day I incorporated a bit of unplanned strength and conditioning work into my walk by using a piece of log. Here's how:
I think we all would benefit from spacing out some time for some spontaneity.
To make a plan to be spontaneous – sounds conflicting, I know. But our lives are so structured and planned and there are too many rules we need to follow every day anyway.
By using some imagination and reclaiming our spontaneity will only add value to our super structured lives. By doing that, we will find ways to make also our moving and ways of being active more instinctive.
Forget About Looking Weird
Looking weird seems to be a big barrier for many adults, not allowing us to release the inner child in us.
So many of us waste too much energy for thinking of how weird we probably look if we do something different.
Take my advice and forget about that.
Is there any reason why doing a conventional exercise, for example, lifting a heavy barbell at the gym, is more acceptable than carrying a log up the hill? Both are great exercises. But if you ask me, carrying a log is just more fun.
From my experience, the attention that I've received get from doing “weird,” unconventional workouts in nature has been only positive. People are curious and ask me questions about what I'm doing, but the comments and questions I have received have always been positive. I've even talked someone who asked about my hill sprints into doing some with me. He did and it was a lot of fun!
As we are growing up, we lose the ability and boldness to play and have fun.
We want to make sure that all we do is approved and not weird. We set a lot of those boundaries ourselves. A lot of parents are watching from the sidelines when their kids are playing at the playground. But who are the coolest parents? The ones that are not sitting on the side of the playground but doing all the fun stuff with their kids on the playground.
Erwan Le Corre, the man behind MovNat is right when he asks, what are the kids really looking for when we are telling them to “go outside and play” (as the matter of fact, he is also right saying that unfortunately, nowadays it's more like “get your iPad and keep yourself busy”…). Anyway, what they really want is to see their parents playing with them and showing them awesome things to do.
The Benefits of Incorporating Some Spontaneity into Your Workouts
I'm not someone who has all the workouts planned out on every Sunday. I understand that if you are preparing for a race, a figure show or any other competition, you have to do so. But even then, I think it's useful to leave some room for something that I'd like to call spontaneous activities, not necessarily workouts.
It's good for both, body and mind.
Here are some reasons why I think everybody should add some spontaneous outdoor activities into their lives:
- They make being active more fun. Moving your body shouldn't be a tedious chore that you have to cross off from your to-do list every day.
- It releases your stress. Moving your body should enhance to your life quality, not make your life more stressful. Being active in nature is a great way to do that.
- You get more creative. You will find ways of how to use the nature around you. Make nature your gym. Learn how to use it.
- You learn to use your body in a much different, unconventional way. Dragging, pushing, pulling or carrying things that are not perfect in shape or weight distribution are surprising your body, being very natural at the same time.
- Most of the outdoor movements use big muscle groups. Most likely you won't do triceps kickbacks in a forest. Doing natural, big compound movements will challenge your body in a most efficient, yet most natural way. And even though I don't want you to think of such activities as being a workout, the fact is that the way you use your body for pushing, pulling, jumping, crawling etc, also means greater energy expenditure.
Next time you go out for a walk or run, don't think that you are going out for a workout. Don't think of the number of calories that you are burning or the muscle groups that you are using.
Instead, think that you go out to explore and have fun.
Take a look around you and see what is there that you can use to spice your walk or run up a bit. By finding ways to move in nature and using equipment it has to offer, you will have a lot of fun, release your stress and get a diverse workout without even focusing on it.