The first warm days of summer provide an invitation for us to take our vitamin D-deprived selves outdoors and enjoy some rays. We feel compelled to shed a few layers and get closer to nature. Giving into this temptation is not only good for the soul, but it can actually help us achieve our fitness goals.
Nearly half of us struggle sticking to our fitness programs, and therefore feel defeated when we throw in the towel. This often means we forgot the most influencing factor in ensuring we stick with our routine = FUN! Research has shown that pleasure is the factor most closely related to exercise adherence, and what could be more enjoyable than taking full advantage of the sights, sounds, and smells of our summer months. How can we maximize what nature has to offer?
- Sunrise walks: studies have shown that leisure time physical activity can lead to better results than those in a structured fitness setting. If the local patios are too tempting after work, include an early morning walk around the neighborhood. Change up your routine while it’s easier to get out of bed in the summer mornings to start the day with energizing movement.
- Take you tree pose to the forest: with so many Yoga poses inspired from nature we can even leave out mats behind and ground ourselves right into the earth’s surface. This concept of “grounding” or “earthing” helps us enhance our balance, improve the stability of our lower limbs, and is also based on the scientific concept of receiving the earth’s surface electrons. Make sure there are no sharp twigs and spread your toes!
- Take a hike! (and bring your loved-ones along): we know that fitness activities that optimize social interactions have a positive effect on enjoyment, therefore adherence, which leads to hitting our goals. Shared experiences give us something to look forward to and ensure we are also accountable to others; therefore decrease the chance of “skipping” our workout. Plan fun outings with friends and family that include some opportunities for movement and sweating in the sun.
- Stop and smells the roses: slow it down! Taking time to enjoy the multi-sensory environment summer has to offer will help create movement we crave, therefore keep going back to for more. Whether you’re kayaking on a quiet lake, biking through a nature trail, or playing Frisbee in the local park, make sure you make time to see, smell, and touch the constantly changing bounty that nature has to offer. Even a moment of gratitude will help you connect to your goals, and deepen your determination to achieve them.