I have always enjoyed exercising outdoors. Hiking in the woods is one of my favorite things to do. I used to love going for a run outdoors, however lately running is not agreeing with my body. I also recognized that I need strength training to prevent further bone loss. Menopause at 32 is taxing on the body and one major side effect is osteoporosis. Gyms and indoor studios mostly do not work for me due to mold, harsh cleaners, and perfume choices, so that led me to find a local outdoor exercise program. I knew that Kerry from Fit Feels Best lived in my neighborhood so I approached her to teach a boot camp class in my neighborhood. This has been such a great fit for me! We meet twice a week for an awesome outdoor work out great for all fitness levels. I also connected with Carolina at Inspire Fitness and had some personal outdoor sessions and join her outdoor classes throughout Chapel Hill and Carrboro as well.
So why green your exercise routine? There are so many reasons! First, it just feels great. Fresh air is wonderful when working out and can immediately shift your mood. As Carolina states, "Many of us spend a majority of our lives indoors. Our exposure to sunshine and fresh air has drastically declined. I run my fitness classes outdoors to provide clients with outdoor exercise. I really believe fresh air and fitness are good for your mind, body and soul. Nothing beats working out to a sun rise or doing yoga in a garden full of roses."
According to research studies exercising outdoors in the natural environment showed an improvement in mental well-being, great feelings of revitalization, increased energy, decrease in tension, anger and depression. Those that exercised outdoors also reported great satisfaction with their exercise routine and were more inclined to stick with their programs. Kerry from Fit Feels Best agrees that people seem to enjoy their workouts more when they are breathing fresh air and that exercising outside leaves her clients feeling more energetic with an improvement in their mood. She states, "Those positive feelings make it more likely that you will want to repeat the experience and be more inclined to continue your exercise program!"
A great local program for new moms is Stroller Strides. There are affiliates all over the country. I wish I took advantage of this when Nate was born. Looking back it would have helped me on many levels! Locally in Chapel Hill the stroller strides is run by Amy Rosso. When asked about her classes she states, "As moms our exercise time is limited. There are creative ways to workout at home but getting out of the house to exercise with your little one is a win for many reasons: breathing fresh air, enjoying new scenery, meeting other mamas, bonding with your baby - all while getting a great workout!" FIT4MOM offers mommy and me type fitness classes including stroller strides and stroller barre which incorporate cardio, strength training, and other elements including yoga. You can learn more at chapelhill.fit4mom.com Amy shared that the first class is free!
Outdoor exercise is great to do as a family. Here is a great local list of family friendly hikes in the Triangle by Carolina Parent http://www.carolinaparent.com/CP/10-Hikes-Kids-Enjoy-in-the-Triangle/
Another North Carolina Triangle local, Maria Finnegan of Maria Finnegan Fitness, offers outdoors SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board) classes beginning in May. Outdoor classes are usually at Jordan Lake and she offers basic SUP classes, SUP yoga and SUP Fusion. The classes range from 60 to 90 minutes and offer a unique workout in a quiet beautiful setting. She states, "Imagine resting in savasana and looking up at the blue sky above, feeling the gentle water beneath you as you float on your SUP, and hearing the crickets and birds chirping in the trees. When we paddle, we become very focused on the present because we need to concentrate on our movements, our balance, the way the paddle moves through the water. Whether we are paddling or practicing yoga on our boards, there is an immediate connection between our bodies and nature." She also offers indoor classes at local pool/aquatic centers and they are a great way to get practice balancing and standing on the SUP board. You can find out more about her classes at www.mariafinnegan.com
Don't let the cold weather stop you. What are you waiting for? Get outside and green your exercise routine! There are so many options, go for a walk, a run, do jumping jacks outside, bring your yoga mat outside, maybe try an outdoor bootcamp or yoga class or search for a local stroller strides if you have a baby in tow. I will be joining Maria's SUP class this spring. If I can help find local outdoor options in your area that work for you feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Remember another beautiful thing about exercising outdoors is it can be free!
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