Since I started running, I’m spending more time outdoors than I used to. I’m tempted to say, it’s like being a kid again – having to go outside regardless of the weather. If you had a childhood resembling mine, you might remember that autumn and winter could be quite challenging to go out in the cold and wet, but as soon as you started playing and moving, it all went away and you just had a good time.
Such are my runs. Regardless of the weather, I enjoy my run. My body feels strong and efficient, my mind relaxes and I feel more connected to nature and my surroundings than I would do had I spent time indoors on a treadmill.
Don’t get me wrong. Gyms are nice and all the equipment they offer are great for training your physique (and I often miss visiting one), but there’s a ton of difference between looking at yourself in the mirror flexing muscles (or looking at others doing the same) and going outside, feeling the air on your face, looking at trees, birds, plants, the ocean, flowers or cows. Being outside just makes you connect and relax to life in a different way – and I love being a part of promoting the outdoors more.
If you’re reading along and thinking to yourself ‘that’s all very well, but I’m NOT going to start running just to go outside’: I get you and you don’t have to run to be outside. You could go for a walk. Leave the phone and music player at home. Just go out and breathe the fresh air, listen to the wind – and if you’re in a town, a walk through town will leave you refreshed as well. Plus maybe you get to meet someone you haven’t seen in a while or discover something new about the place you live.
You might also be able to find local outdoors exercise classes or ask a good friend to join you. Some of my best conversations with friends happen on walks. It’s medicine for mind and body.
And if walking is too slow for you, grab a bike, a surfboard, football or swimsuit and get out in the elements. The goal is to be outside and using your body for what it was meant for: movement. It doesn’t matter if it’s one or the other kind.
If you’re outside and want to do a little extra, here are a few exercises, which are as made for the outdoors:
1: Dips – find a bench or structure to sit on. Place hands, fingers pointing forward on the edge, slide your butt over the edge. Lower your body down towards the ground, without actually touching. Use your triceps to press yourself up again. This is a great exercise for your arms and upper back.
2. Squats and high knees. High knees might come automatically when you’re stepping over puddles, sticks and stones. Squats can be done anywhere and everywhere and will help maintaining strong legs and happy jeans.
3. Saxon side bends for abs, core and back. Stand up, legs shoulder width or more apart, arms above head. Keep hips still and lean upper body towards left, then right. Carrying something heavy in your hands, like a rock, water bottle or bag pack will make your core work even more.
I hope this February column has inspired you to go outside too. If you like more inspiration for home training sessions and exercises, I’m regularly posting training content to my Instagram account: @trainwithadane
You are as always welcome to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments and questions.
Move more, be happy, enjoy life. See you next month.