The Outdoor Gym

Why outdoor workouts are the perfect way to kick-start your fitness regime this National Wellness Month

With National wellness Month starting on August 1, now is the time to get out there and enjoy the great outdoors in every which way you can. Yes, it’s a little hot and humid. And yes, the lure of working out in the UAE’s newly-reopened, gloriously air-conditioned gyms is seriously appealing. But multiple studies have proved that an outdoor workout will offer the kind of psychological boost that an indoor environment simply can’t compete with. So set your alarm for an early wake-up call (you’ll need to be doing your cool down no later than 7am) or plan a sunset exercise session to beat the heat and amp up your endorphins while you embrace the benefits of having Mother Nature as your workout buddy.

COMO Shambhala wellness expert Lisa Manser tells The Gaggler why exercising outside is not only a great way to get in shape, but the perfect way to engage with the environment throughout Wellness Month and beyond.

Greater Mental Positivity 

It’s a well-known fact that spending time outdoors is good for you. This is especially true in green environments, where natural landscapes have a soothing effect on our mind and bodies. Studies have found that simply walking in a forest for 15 minutes had the power to reduce blood pressure, lower heart rate and decrease the stress hormone, cortisol.

Outdoor exercise has also been shown to boost confidence. In 2010, a study of 1,252 participants at the University of Essex found that activities in green environments – or in the presence of water – generated greater improvements for both self-esteem and mood. This was the case even when undertaken for only five minutes and regardless of the type of exercise was done. 

Sunshine State of Mind 

Sunlight is the most intuitive source of vitamin D, contributing to the maintenance of strong, healthy bones, muscles and immune functions – and while it’s something we’re never in short supply of here in the Middle East, the region suffers greatly from Vitamin D deficiency because we spend so much time covered up and indoors. 

The benefits of sunlight are so potent that the lack of it creates a very real syndrome that has negative effects on mood and wellbeing. Sunlight naturally increases serotonin, which is responsible for regulating emotional state, social behavior, appetite, sleep, and more. By heading outside to exercise, you can maximize your intake of sunshine, which will in turn boost your mood. Just remember to slap on plenty of sunscreen to protect yourself from the rays.

The Benefits of Outdoor Workouts

Free And Functional

Exercising outdoors provides the perfect opportunity to use your body as equipment, at no cost. These ‘functional movements’ are usually compound exercises that involve multiple, large muscle groups, and mimic the motions we frequently perform in daily life, so can directly improve our ability to perform ‘day-to-day tasks’ like carrying bags or climbing stairs. Instead of training specific body parts on machines in a gym, outdoor exercise enhances movement patterns – a holistic way to connect with your own physiology that can be more beneficial to your daily existence.

The Great Escape

Going outdoors offers physical separation from your internal routine. It’s a clean break from life in the office or home, which is important to ease monotony – especially at a time when we’ve had to stay inside more than ever before.

It also often feels less strenuous than indoor exercise, simply because nature is more engaging, which diverts some attention away from the effort you’re exerting. This is especially good because outdoor exercise can often be more challenging, with the ever-changing terrain requiring more from your body than a flat indoor surface. A tougher workout that feels easier? What’s not to love?


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Revitalise After Feasting: A Post-Thanksgiving Workout Regimen to Recharge Your Body

Revive, Recharge, Thrive

As the Thanksgiving feast fades into fond memories, it’s time to give your body the attention it deserves. In this post-feasting recovery guide, we’ll explore a tailored workout regimen designed to revitalise your body, recharge your energy, and counterbalance the indulgences of the holiday season.

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1. Wake Up the Body with Cardio Bursts:

Kickstart your post-Thanksgiving regimen with invigorating cardio bursts. Whether it’s a brisk morning walk, a jog, or a dance session, get your heart pumping and awaken your body from its food-induced slumber.

2. Core-Strengthening Pilates:

Engage your core muscles with a Pilates session to restore balance and stability. These low-impact exercises are perfect for toning and strengthening, providing a gentle yet effective workout for your post-feast body.

3. Yoga for Digestive Ease:

Explore a sequence of yoga poses designed to aid digestion and promote relaxation. Gentle twists and stretches will help soothe your stomach and release tension, leaving you feeling rejuvenated.

4. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):

Inject a burst of energy with HIIT exercises to elevate your heart rate and boost your metabolism. Short, intense intervals followed by rest periods are an efficient way to burn off excess calories and jumpstart your fitness routine.

5. Mindful Cool Down with Stretching:

Wind down your workout with mindful stretching. Focus on areas that may have tightened during the holiday festivities, allowing your body to recover and preventing post-feast stiffness.

As you embrace this post-Thanksgiving workout regimen, remember that it’s not about punishment but restoring balance. This curated routine aims to invigorate your body, clear your mind, and set the tone for a healthy and active holiday season. So, lace up those sneakers, roll out the yoga mat, and let’s embark on a journey to revitalise and recharge after the Thanksgiving feast.

Frequently Asked Questions

How soon after Thanksgiving should I start this workout regimen?

The post-Thanksgiving workout regimen can be started as early as the day after the feast. However, listen to your body, and if needed, allow a day or two for digestion before engaging in more intense exercises.

Can I customize the workout routine based on my fitness level?

Absolutely! Tailor the regimen to suit your fitness level and preferences. Modify intensity, duration, or choose alternative exercises to ensure a comfortable and effective workout experience.

Is it necessary to follow the entire workout routine, or can I focus on specific exercises?

Feel free to adapt the regimen to your needs. While the full routine provides a well-rounded approach, you can choose specific exercises based on your preferences or focus on areas that feel particularly tight or in need of attention.


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