Here at MH, we love the gym, plain and simple. A good gym not only comes with all the latest equipment to help you chase those physical goals, but will provide a community to help you get there.
However, on occasion, skipping the gym and supplementing our gym routine with some outdoor training or socialisation is just what the doctor ordered (not to mention the physio).
A host of studies have provided information relating to benefits of sweating outdoors when compared to indoors, and a 2011 metadata analysis comparing 13 of these studies delivers a solid summary, concluding that training outside has significant mental health benefits.
“Compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalisation and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy,” say the researchers in the journal of Environmental Science and Technology.
1. Reconnect With The Lads
Grab your mates for a group workout and enjoy a vastly improved quality of life. That’s the message from a new study published in The Journal of American Osteopathic Association.
The study, conducted on 69 high-stress medical students, showed that those who exercised in a group lowered their stress levels by 26 per cent when compared to those who work out alone or don’t work out at all. The findings took into account the mental, physical and emotional aspects of health over a 12-week study period for selected participants, providing a holistic insight into the effects of group exercise.
Grab a footy and head to the park for some touch football, smash out a quick HIIT circuit, or join a local sporting comp, just make sure you’re not going at it alone.
2. Incidental Exercise
Getting a workout done outside of the gym doesn’t necessarily mean completing a workout. Confused? Let us explain. Incidental exercise (smaller activities throughout the day) is something that the joys of modern life have taken away from us thanks to automation. Add to your gym routine by walking up the stairs instead of riding the lift, getting off the train one stop early and walking, or even doing the housework.
That’s right, a study by the Good Housekeeping Institute found people doing two hours of ‘intense’ household chores actually burned over 600 calories.
The GHI found window cleaning was the most taxing task, with participants burning an average of 115 calories in 20 minutes. Scrubbing the bathroom from top to bottom burnt an average of 100 calories, while dusting for 40 minutes burned nearly 200 calories in total. Don’t trust us, strap on a Samsung Gear Sport and help track the calories yourself.
To put this in perspective, 600 calories is nearly double the calories lost on a 5km run, and the equivalent to an hour's kick-around in the park, 40 minutes of squash or 100 minutes of cricket.
3. Keep It Simple
Complicated doesn’t always equal beneficial when it comes to training, so don’t overthink your workout. We know the gym is a great space to nail your clean and jerks, your muscle-ups, and any combination of kettle-bell movements your trainer is willing to concoct, but for the sake of your health, moving well is sometimes all you need. There’s a lot to be said for simply getting outside in the fresh air, popping in your headphones, and hitting the open road for a run. Joint-pain holding you back from running? Hit the waves instead and turn your dip into an ocean swim. Either way, your access to this style of training is unlimited.
Simplicity is often overrated, and a great tool when it comes to exercising; no expensive gym memberships, minimum gear and admin, and no fuss. Just head out the front door and make the world your gym.
4. Scare Yourself Healthy
Going to the pub is a great Australian past time, but have you ever tried to socialise over a wakeboard session? What about going for a mountain bike ride with a group of mates? A hike in the hills before hitting the beers? While we’re not ones to write-off the powers of the pub completely, there’s definitely a lack of adrenaline-chasing potential in the confines of the local RSL Club.
According to researchers at Texas A&M University, adventure sports such as mountain bike riding, rock climbing and white-water rafting all induce cortisol and epinephrine, aka adrenaline, at a level higher than any workplace or social situation. Yes, that time spent outdoors is both more fun and more stressful than that presentation to your boss, chemically speaking. However according to the research that’s a great thing for you and your mates. Activities that are more physically and mentally stressful assist your body in reacting well to everyday stresses, say the team. Be right back, heading to the hills.