How To Make The Great Outdoors Your Gym
I've been a fitness enthusiast and yoga instructor for over a decade. And that means I've seen the inside of countless gyms and studios. And while I could go on about the standards that make a gym truly elite (all about the chilled towels and smoothie bars), nothing compares to the gym right outside my doorstep: the Great Outdoors.
The benefits of working out outdoors.
Nature is powerful—and we know this on a deeper, intuitive level. But science tells us exactly why. According to the Yale School of the Environment, spending time in nature can help lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels while enhancing the function of our immune system. A little fresh air can even increase our self-esteem, inspire a better mood, and lower anxiety.
We can tap into this power by taking more of our workouts outdoors. But also by weaving nature's elements into our daily routine with Ricola herb drops. Made with a blend of 10 Swiss alpine herbs, they're a simple and soothing dose of nature to support the occasional cough that comes around. But that earthy, subtly sweet flavor blast also happens to be incredibly satisfying for the throat after a workout alfresco. I'll show you exactly what I mean, with these four ways to turn the Great Outdoors into your own personal gym.
Trail running: A cooler way to cardio.
Every time we jump into a cardio sesh, our heart gets a little happier. Cardio, or aerobic exercise, gets our heart and lungs pumping to flood our muscles and organs with oxygen. But when the air is fresh? Even better. Studies also demonstrate that a forest environment can increase heart rate variability1, which implies healthy autonomic nervous system function. So instead of machinery, opt for trail running to boost your cardio, strength-building, and balance. Afterward, soothe your throat with a Ricola Lemon Mint Herb Drop. Formulated with the most high-quality herbs from five areas of the Swiss mountains, these drops are just the kind of treat you need after a good sweat.
Yoga: Discover your inner nature, in nature.
Nothing better than a little tree pose in the good company of trees. Trust me, I understand how we creatures of habit prefer the same-old spot in the yoga studio, but a practice in the sunshine wins. Those sunbeams warming your skin in down dog? They're helping your body make more vitamin D. And nature smells only take pranayama (breathwork) to the next level. All you need is a somewhat flat surface—look for short grass or a dirt patch. After your practice, stay connected to nature with the herbs of Ricola Lemon Mint Herb Drops. Nothing like a little lemon balm and menthol post-savasana.
Strength-training: Gym equipment, reimagined.
Exercise in nature requires us to get a little creative and tap into our more primal side. Hundreds of years ago, humans didn't have dumbbells and benches. But they did have heavy rocks, tree branches, and hills. Lift heavy rocks as a substitute for weight-lifting. Balance your leg on a boulder for lunges. Or find a strong but low tree branch for pullups. But if you're short on natural resources, head to an outdoor park and enjoy the monkey bars. Outdoor workouts are inevitably more playful, just like the flavor of Ricola Berry Medley Herb Drops, which blend the juicy, ripe sweetness of raspberries, bilberries, and black currants.
Plyometrics: Jump into open spaces.
Plyometrics are all the rage these days, likely because these exercises are insanely challenging but simple, rarely requiring equipment. For the same reasons, we can take plyometrics outdoors. All you need for burpees and tuck jumps is some open space. So find a nice grassy field and, sincerely, good luck with that plyometric routine. If you know, you know—you'll be hot and sweaty in no time.
Take it outside.
Maybe you're a dancer. Maybe you love biking, barre, or HIIT. Practically every workout can be taken outside, and the reasons to do so are plenty. But I saved my favorite reason for last: People who spend two hours a week in green spaces (either all at once or spaced out) are "substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don't."
The fact is, nature is there to support us—whether it's as our gym or through the power of herbs. For me, I'll take both. Made with the highest-quality Swiss alpine herbs, patiently harvested for the most concentrated benefits, Ricola herb drops are integral to my workout routine. After traversing a mountainside out of breath, there's nothing like a Cherry Honey Herb Drop to keep my throat quenched and my mind in the nature zone. And the best part about making the Great Outdoors your gym? No membership fee. Because nature is accessible for all to enjoy freely.
Devon Barrow is a Branded Content Editor at mindbodygreen. She received her degree from the University of Colorado. When she's away from her desk, Devon is teaching yoga, writing poetry, meditating, and traveling the world. She's based in Boulder, Colorado.
Devon's first book, Earth Women, is coming soon. To learn more, join the mailing list, and receive updates, head to www.devonbarrowwriting.com.