(BPT) - When the pandemic started, you may have had the best intentions of using your time to get fit. However, with a variety of challenges filling your time, don't feel bad if you have yet to start over a year later. The good news is it's never too late and now is the ideal time to find a fitness routine that works for you.
Getting outdoors means ample space for social distancing and fresh air, which are important for health and safety reasons, but the benefits of outdoor fitness don't stop there. According to research published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal, outdoor exercise has physical and mental benefits. In the report, when compared with exercising indoors, exercising outside in natural environments resulted in:
- Greater feelings of revitalization
- Increased energy
- Positive engagement
- Higher enjoyment and satisfaction
- Decrease in tension, confusion, anger and depression
- Higher likelihood to repeat the activity at a later date
These results aren't surprising to CEO and Founder of Moms on the Run Karissa Johnson, a structured fitness program for women of all ages. She said there are basic evidence-based health benefits of nature contact, including reduced stress, lower blood pressure, improved mental health and higher life satisfaction, among others.
"Add in the benefits of exercise, and being physically active outdoors offers so many positives," said Johnson. "Finding an exercise activity to do outside can really make a big difference in how you feel, whether that's doing something you enjoy or trying something new."
Whether you have experience or not, Johnson suggests exploring running with a local group to help you get outdoors and be fit. Moms on the Run is one option that helps you learn to run with a group of other like-minded women. These groups are led by instructors so you know exactly what to do no matter where you are on your fitness journey. Groups meet at parks in cities nationwide and you can join at any time, with new signature training sessions often starting up in spring and fall. Learn more at www.momsontherun.com.
Why choose group outdoor fitness? There are many reasons to buddy up rather than trying it alone.
Feel supported: If you have questions or concerns, an instructor-led group environment means you'll always have answers. You'll get the support you need to succeed and feel your best. For example, 90% of Moms on the Run participants in a recent survey said they feel supported and 83% feel they've connected with like-minded people, which all contribute to success.
Accountability: Knowing a group is meeting and you're part of that group can be more motivation than if you exercise alone. You'll feel more drive to do something if others are expecting you to be there. If the program you choose comes with a cost, you also feel accountable because you want to make the most of that investment.
Socializing: Being part of a fitness community allows you to develop relationships, and some people form lasting friendships. Even if it's just connecting during class, in-person socializing is an important part of the human experience and something many people have missed since the start of the pandemic.
Safety: Working out in a group helps you stay safer. First, you're never alone in an outdoor area so you can feel more confident in your safety. Second, if you sustain an injury or experience another urgent situation, people you know and trust are around to help you out.
Are you ready to get outside and reap the benefits of outdoor exercise? The fresh air and open spaces are ready to inspire your personal fitness journey.