My friend is in town for this week, and yesterday we had a chance to workout together. The workout happened at the playground close to my house, per usual, and was short and sweet, per usual.
We went out around 10 in the morning which is a little later than I usually do. In the early mornings, I'm the only one at the playground, but yesterday we were accompanied by a bunch of running and playing pre-school kids.
We did some exercises with medicine balls, jump ropes and some with just bodyweight. The little audience gathered around us and got super curious as we were slamming and tossing our med balls, and they also got extremely excited about jump ropes. Some of them even tried to do some burpees with us. They seemed to have a really good time watching and cheering us!
When it was time for them to leave, they even said “thank you”. It was super sweet. Me and my friend were joking that they will probably go home and tell their parents about these two ladies running and jumping around at the playground – just the way they did.
As a matter of fact, I hope they did tell their parents about us. And in case they did, I'm wondering what the parents think about it. The chances are that at least some of them think that its “unusual” and “weird” and “strange” for adults to do their workout at the playground.
Unusual, I get it. But strange or weird? No. If you want to make your workouts more creative, be in the sunshine, get some fresh air, plus so many other benefits you get from being outside, you have to stop thinking about looking weird.
“Normal People Go to a Gym.”
Some time ago, someone asked me where I train (myself and my clients). When I said that my workouts happen mostly outdoors, she asked why don't I go to a gym like “normal” people do. Because working out in random places, doing unusual stuff, is just… weird. And I probably don't get as good results either.
I disagree. I can't see why outdoor workouts, using various equipment like monkey bars or swings, or bringing your two kettlebells or sandbag outside, is any more weird than doing the same things at the gym.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with going to a gym. There is something for everyone, but I just prefer outdoor workouts over a sweaty gym, if possible. That's not to say that I never go to one.
To say that you can't get strong without going to a gym can't be farther from truth. Many of those people who say that can't do pull ups, pistols, push ups, or so many other exercises that are significant indicators of strength.
Eight Reasons to Workout Outdoors
1) I get to be outside
2) I get fresh air
3) I get WAYYY more creative with using different things as pieces of a workout equipment
4) As seen from above story, I get to be a role model for kids
5) I save money
6) I save time
7) I don't have to wait until the equipment frees up
8) The gym is everywhere.
All great reasons. By working out outdoors, you can make your life easier, happier and healthier.
Why I Appreciate the Outdoors So Much
You learn to appreciate things that you don't have.
I grew up in a pretty cold country where nine months of rain and snow is nothing uncommon. The snow season may start in November and last until April, and quite often, the summers are rainy. That's why I have learned to appreciate the chance to work out outdoors so much.
When I used to run a lot, I always did it outside, no matter what the weather was like. I have never liked treadmills. I'm not saying that running outside in -15C (5F) was the most fun thing I ever did, but it was better than running on a treadmill in a sweaty gym. There's something about getting back inside after having worked out in the cold weather, taking a hot shower and enjoy a hot cup of tea…
I truly appreciate that I can work out outside now as I live in California, and I want to make the most of it. My friend even jokes about me and says that I never skip a workout when it's a bit rainy or dreary, because that's probably what the summer looks like in Estonia. Well, that's not entirely true, but there is some truth in it!
Being Outside is a Habit
I wasn't the most outdoorsy kid. I preferred reading a book over playing outside. However, our family always did something outside, every day. Even for a short time.
Our daily dose of fresh air may have come in a form of something as simple as taking a walk to a grocery store or taking a little hike around the nearby lake. While I just said that I was a kid who spent a fair share of time inside, I probably still spent more time outside than too many kids nowadays do.
The older I got, the more I spent my time outdoors. Now, going for a long walk is one of the first things that me and my mom do when we get together. We want to catch up anyway, so why not to combine it with working out in the fresh air.
Working out outside is by no means weird, awkward or strange. Gym is not the only place where you can lose fat, increase lean muscle mass, improve stamina or achieve other health and fitness goals that you may have. We should think outside of the box and find a way to work out that is good for both body and mind.
Do you work out outdoors?
Would you / do you feel strange or awkward doing that?