June is the most fitting month for Be Active because the weather is usually so pleasant. The first taste of summer air, the cool mornings and evenings, the comfortable daytime temperatures (most of the time, at least), and the even precipitation make for the best environment to get out and move about. I don’t know about you, but a daily routine at the gym has nothing on a little outdoor activity. I’d rather spend 30 minutes walking the dogs through my quiet neighborhood than 6 minutes warming up on a treadmill at the gym. Digging around in the garden holds much more appeal than digging in for another 10 reps on the weight machine. Even Tabata seems more tolerable when I’m barefoot in the grass than on the kitchen floor in the dead of winter. Throwing the frisbee or catching fly balls is significantly more enjoyable than an elliptical. But beyond the simple enjoyment factor, it seems the allure of the outdoors can have benefits in helping people stick with an exercise routine and even help them to put in more time each week exercising! The New York Times references a study in their article on this topic, “… a study last year of older adults found, objectively, that those who exercised outside exercised longer and more often than those working out indoors. Specifically, the researchers asked men and women 66 or older about their exercise habits and then fitted them all with electronic gadgets that measured their activity levels for a week. The gadgets and the survey showed that the volunteers who exercised outside, usually by walking, were significantly more physically active than those who exercised indoors, completing, on average, about 30 minutes more exercise each week than those who walked or otherwise exercised indoors.”
The article also explains the differences in how exercise is experienced outdoors versus indoors and how this can impact our muscles and bodies. It also seems that those working out outside tend to enjoy the activity more. Finding ways to be active outdoors may reap a host of physiological benefits; see if you can’t find a way to get out of the gym and switch up your routine. Share with us your favorite outdoor activity or what lures you outside during the beautiful summer months.