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Top Ten Reasons Outdoor Workouts are Good for You

In honor of Earth Day yesterday and our first Pilates in the Park session this Saturday at 9am, so I wanted to put together a list of reasons why working out outdoors can be good for you. As summer approaches and as you plan your trips think about how to integrate some outdoor time. Whether it's going to the pool for the afternoon, going on a day trip to a state park, or going for a week trip to Yosemite it's important to find ways to enjoy our beautiful green spaces.

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1. Soak up some Vitamin D!

Working out outside allows your skin the opportunity to soak some Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps to lower your blood pressure, aid in bone growth and strength, and reduce your risk of diabetes, heart attacks, and some cancers.

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2. Lower Your Stress

Studies have shown that people who walk, bike, hike, or play outside have reduced levels of stress. Working out in a green space has the potential to lower your stress even more than working out in a gym. Even five minutes outside can boost your mood and self-esteem.

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3. Improved Attention and Focus

People who take walks outside whether it's after work, on your lunch, or on the weekend show improved attention and focus. If you take the short walk outside or take your yoga practice to the park then you'll come back to your work refreshed and ready to focus.

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4. You'll Keep Exercising

Working out outside is a nice change if you're used to working out inside. Even you work out just once per week in your backyard you're more likely to stick with your exercise routine. Being outside is a nice environment to breathe in some fresh air, get the body moving, and enjoy the green space.

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5. You'll Keep the Extra Weight Off

The outdoors just beckons you to be active. There are no couches, TV, Netflix, or computers in that beautiful green space. It's a lot less tempting to sit down and watch TV for hours when you're outside without temptations. Studies have shown that children who play outside have lower rates of overweight than children who spent more time indoors.

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6. It's Fun

Working outside is just nice and scenic. Austin, Dripping Springs, and the surrounding areas have so much park land to hike around and rocks to climb. Summer is coming up and the cool waters of Hamilton Pool, Blue Hole in Wimberley, and Barton Springs are calling. Taking the dog on a walk in the sunshine is just good. When you're outside you can just feel your mood improve and a smile spread across your face.

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7. It's as Good as a Cup of Coffee

Ok bear with me. If you love coffee you may be trying to call me on this, but really this is true. Studies have shown that as little as 20 minutes outside can give you as much of an energy boost as a cup of coffee does. Wow. It can be hard to believe, but this is a great thing for coffee-lovers and coffee-dislikers alike. You can get that early morning boost with your coffee and an afternoon boost by just being outside! This is a wonderful cost-effective strategy! If you don't drink caffeine you can get the same boost by just taking a walk outside! Maybe you can drink your coffee while you're outside and get double the boost! This is just a guess. Maybe you'll just have to try it and get back to me.

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8. You Could Experience Less Pain

A study showed that spinal surgery patients who spent time outside in the sun reported less pain and needed less pain medication than the patients who spent time on the shady side of the building. Even if you aren't recovering from surgery this can translate to your life. Being outside has the potential to help you heal!

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9. You'll be Happy

This may sound similar to reducing stress, but people who took a walk, hike, or run outside experience more pleasure. They liked the outdoor workout more than their indoor workout. They were happier after their outdoor workout. They scored higher in categories like vitality and enthusiasm.

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10. You Could Burn More Calories

If you are a treadmill runner try an outdoor run. You stride differently outdoors. You can actually run down a hill outdoors. Things like wind resistance and changes in terrain can translate to a more challenging run or bike ride. This higher challenge translate into more energy expended and a higher number of calories burned!

We still have spots in our Pilates in the Park session! The session is free and open to all fitness levels. Come join us at Charro Ranch Park for a fun Pilates class then head over to Founder's Day Festival just 5 minutes away! You can sign up for a spot through the "Book A Class" tab or you can email greenbirdfitness@gmail.com.

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