6 reasons why I choose the outdoors over the gym
No doubt gyms have their purpose in forming the complete athlete. When training specific muscle groups, for rehabilitation or for other purposes such as the type of sport you practice what the gym offers can help you take your training to high levels if that is what you are looking for.
But those of us who are seeking mental and physical health, who want a break from the overwhelming world around us, not looking to beat the marathon record, we do not seek to become the strongest, the fastest, the mightiest. We are looking to be fit, strong, maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress levels, have more energy and joy in life.
What I’ve experienced while training outdoor from a physical and mental perspective beats 19+ years of indoor training. Besides getting stronger and fitter I’ve gained so much more, higher self esteem, confidence, calmness, patience, resilience. Different people have different experiences, here I will tell you mine.
1. Getting some space
One of the things I don’t enjoy in a gym is the lack of space. I feel like I’m going from 1 box (the office or house) into another box (the gym). Most gyms don’t even have windows.
Outdoor I can have all the space I want, there are no limits to where I can go and what I can do. There are no walls to stop me.
2. Clean, fresh air
I admit the fresh air in the countryside where I used to spend my 3 months summer holiday with my grandparents was pure. In a city not so much. In a gym not at all.
However, although pollution is omnipresent we can still find patches of cleaner air, especially in winter. And what beautiful places we have in London, you only need to stick your nose out the door to see the beauty around you.
Go outside and smell the fresh air.
3. Virus free
Gyms are the heavens of viruses. I wish they weren’t. If one person has the flu virus and touches half a dozen machines or sneezes over them there are good chances many other people will catch the virus as well.
Outdoor there are small chances for that to happen. Plus viruses cannot thrive in cold weather.
4. Benefits of Earthing on mental and physical health
Research suggests that disconnecting from the Earth may be a major contributor to physiological dysfunction and general unwellness.
Several studies have shown that being in contact with the ground may promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being.
In patients who experience anxiety, emotional stress, panic, fear, and/or symptoms of autonomic dystonia, including headaches, cardiac palpitations, and dizziness, grounding could be a very realistic therapy. These patients may see positive effects most likely within 20 to 30 minutes and in almost all cases in 40 minutes.
5. Never boring, never the same
Every session is different. And I don’t only mean different exercises, but different everything: terrain – muddy, frozen, hilly, wet, dry, even if you are in the same place; different weather – rain, snow, wind, hot.
Every time you move your hand and foot you will never ever place them in an similar place as you would on the nicely finished, shiny, straight gym floor. There are roots, stones, logs, mud, water, ice waiting for you. Never the same. Every time you lift a rock or piece of wood it will always be different every time you pick it up.
This is training in a multilateral way and it means that your body will develop muscles which were asleep for a very long time but your body needs them. Your body will be prepared for anything, whether it’s lifting, carrying, throwing, catching or unexpected events such as falling or slipping.
I left this one last on purpose, because I want you to remember it. Resilience is the ability to recover quickly form difficulties, to fall, get up and go again.
Never in my life I thought I would reach a point where I would decide on a path and follow it to completion no matter what. Two years ago, when I was introduced to natural movement by my coach Michael Cohen, I told myself “yep this is what I want to do”. And guess what, 2 years later this is what I’m doing.
But in these 2 years I went through many tough moments, and there are more to come. Every single time I picked myself up and went on, no matter how difficult it was.
When you wake up at 4:30 am often after 2-3 hours of sleep, you look outside and see poring rain, or snow, or frost on cars. You don’t really want to go in the middle of the woods to do balance exercises or tree scrambling. But you put your shorts on (yes, shorts), your compression top, warm coat and step outdoor. The fresh, crisp air fills your lungs, you smile and walk slowly down the road.
And you do this every week, never missing, never cancelling. This kind of experience literally changes your beliefs about yourself and the world around you. This creates a different version of you. I tell you from my personal experience and seeing others going through similar changes.
You will be amazed of how far you can reach after you face the forces of nature. Nature is the strongest. And if you want to be strong you need to face those who are stronger than you.
If you’d like to know more please download my free ebook