Are you feeling “blah” after a long and tedious year spent indoors? You’re not alone! Many of us are itching to get out and enjoy the warmth of summer, and with that comes getting active. As the weather starts to warm up, we encourage you to get moving in the great outdoors as an incredibly important step towards improving your mental and physical health.
Outdoor Exercises for Chronic Pain, Inflammation, and More
Exercise is an essential component of living a life free of chronic pain, inflammation, and illness. It’s so important that we’ve made it one of the five pillars of The Hache Protocol For Pain Resolution™, our simple but effective system for safely and effectively relieving chronic or acute pain naturally, without drugs, needles, addictive pills, or unwanted side effects.
Want to learn more about the vital role fitness plays in alleviating the following conditions? Click the links below:
We’d like to gently remind you that we’re not suggesting you push yourself to your physical limits by participating in a triathlon. When we talk about exercise, we’re referring to a gentle, easy moment that gets your heart rate up and blood pumping. This could look like gardening, walking the dog, or yoga.
Why is Exercising Outside So Beneficial?
Now that summer is upon us, we can freely and comfortably exercise outdoors again, and that’s great news because studies have shown getting active outside has significant health benefits.
Top 4 benefits of getting active outdoors:
- Uplifts your mood— As we mentioned in our blog on grounding, a 2015 study found that just one hour of direct contact with the Earth improved mood in participants. Additionally, a review of scientific research shows that people who exercised outdoors felt more energized, revitalized, and engaged than those who got active indoors. Feelings of anger, tension, and depression were also shown to decrease with outdoor activity.
- Activates cancer-fighting cells— When you spend time outdoors, you inhale aromatic compounds from plants called phytoncides. Inhaling these compounds is known to increase a type of white blood cell that supports your immune system and is associated with a decreased risk of cancer.
- Lowers blood pressure—A recent study suggests that spending as little as 30 minutes in a park each week can positively impact blood pressure because getting fresh air and lowering stress supports heart health.
- Optimizes your workout— One study determined that older people who trained outside were able to complete roughly 30 minutes more exercise per week than those who only exercised indoors.
Places to Exercise Outside
The great thing about getting active outdoors is that it is usually completely free! Gym and health club memberships can run in the thousands per year and only seem to increase in price as time goes on. Looking for a new spot to get out and get active?
Places to get exercise outdoors:
- Your yard or garden
- Local parks
- Walking trails
- Hiking trails
- The beach
- A track at a nearby school
- Go window shopping in your city or town’s center
- Walk around your neighborhood
- Visit a peaceful cemetery
5 Exercises to Try Outdoors This Spring
Now you’re aware of the myriad of benefits associated with exercising outside; we’d like to share some of our favorite ways to get moving in the beautiful spring weather.
1.Take a hike or walk— Experience a fun family day in nature by planning a hike over the weekend. Wake up early, pack up some healthy snacks and plenty of water, and set out to discover the beauty and serenity of nature. There will be so much to see and experience that you’ll almost forget you are exercising. The great thing about planning a hike is that you can choose a difficulty level that works for your body. If waking up early isn’t your thing, evening or night hikes can be fun too! Just remember to bring a few flashlights.
2. Warrior pose— Try the warrior yoga pose for a quick, easy, and refreshing boost to your day.
- Place your right foot towards the back of a yoga mat, creating a long stance. You don’t need a mat but be sure you have solid footing and the ground isn’t wet or slippery.
- Next, place your right heel down and move your foot to a 45-degree angle.
- Bend your left knee to a 90-degree angle (if this is uncomfortable, do as close to 90 degrees as possible).
- Extend your arms upwards.
- Try to angle both hips towards the front. If you experience pain in the hips, knees, or lower back, do not attempt to do this. Yoga is all about doing what is comfortable for your
- Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths before returning to your original position and repeating the same steps on the opposite side.
3. Get the garden together— You’d be surprised at how good of a workout gardening can be. Get your hands in the soil and plant a vegetable garden to enjoy this summer, pull weeds, or drop a few flower seeds in some planters. If you have pain or mobility issues, ask a friend or neighbor to help with tougher jobs like lifting soil or mulch bags.
4. Swimming/ sculling— Exercising in the water is ideal if you experience acute or chronic pain because it decreases friction and pressure on your joints. In a safe, non-moving body of water, try sculling to bring up your heart rate.
- Start with a foot kick that keeps you afloat. You can choose from modified breaststroke, flutter kicks, or eggbeater kicks.
- With your head above the water, extend your arms to the side, creating a horizontal plane.
- Push your hands forwards with the forearms moving a further 45 degrees forward without touching. Your palms should be facing forward as you do so. Always keep the horizontal plane.
- Move your arms backward as much as you’re comfortable, then repeat the forwards motion. As you move the hands backward, tilt your palms so that they face slightly down.
- When you reach the maximum of your shoulders in reverse, start the forward motions again.
5. Yard games— Croquet, bocce ball, bag toss, lawn darts, the options for outdoor games are practically limitless! Call over some neighbors, family, and friends, and let the fun begin. After all, getting active is all about celebrating and enjoying the body you are in.
Enjoy the Best of the Season
No matter how you do it, get outside and revel in the fresh air and warm sunshine of summer. For more easy and safe exercise ideas, please read our blog, 4 At-Home Exercises for Chronic Pain Warriors.