Why we workout-out! (aka why we love working out, outside!) by Swell Nel

Why we workout-out! (aka why we love working out, outside!) by Swell Nel

As I write, we are careering towards the clock change and the light is creeping out of our mornings and into our early evenings. There is an autumn tingle in the air. It’s the time of year that makes the sofa feel magnetic and the lure of cheesy mash, irresistible. 

But, let me present a case for keeping on, keeping on working out. For keeping out-out and staying wild. For knowing you are going to workout anyway, and that the rain never hurt a runner. It might be raining, but we are still training! Etc. 

Just as life mimics art. Those cliches have a raison d’etre. So, this is my ode, my muse, my rallying cry to keeping us all wild this winter! 

We have all been there.. 

It can feel easy to move it, to dodge it, to flick for the weather app and wonder.  In autumn and winter, it’s too convenient to cosy up and find a better thing to do. Let’s be honest, working out and fitness training can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience. But, sometimes, it can also feel like a chore. It's not always easy to motivate yourself to get up off the couch or away from your computer screen and go for a run or hit the gym. 

So here are the reasons to do it anyway, to commit to it whatever the weather, we are going ‘out out’! 

The outdoors is always open. It doesn’t matter how early you wake, or how late you finish, the wild is always waiting. All it takes is some comfy shoes and you can get some steps in, do a power walk around the block, or sneak a 5km in. I once did a 100-day streak of 5kms as part of a community running challenge, and what surprised me was how easy it was to do it thanks to the commitment to simply do a run every day. 

I know from doing this streak, it’s also possible to do almost all of them without getting too wet in the rain, too often. Sure, it will rain all day some days, but it’s rare. There is always a slot to sneak out for a bit of fresh air. Think back to the pandemic, to that time when we could only go out for exercise one hour a day, and how many times you got wet in the rain? Not many, huh? So, tick rain off your excuse list, because it’s dodge-able, and, even if you get a little bit wet, you can feel really smug on that sofa later, knowing that you went out anyway. 

You will find the light.. and some vitamin D to boot! 

Government advice in the UK is currently that everyone should consider taking a daily Vitamin D supplement across the autumn and winter, and it’s for a good reason as, of course, it’s harder across the winter season to get all the Lumens we need to produce all the Vitamin D we need. But, it’s amazing how just spending some time in the light helps me feel good.  I am writing by the window, and my “Luxmeter” App is registering just over 800 lumens. It’s still early, and it’s a bit grey, but I just stepped outside to check and it shot over 1000 lumens. Even on a moody morning sky, we can get a boost of lumens, which will help us make our own Vitamin D. 

In the “wild gym” you get the ultimate variety to keep you motivated. 

However often you train in your wild, there is always a new route. You can go with your whim, your gut and your fancy. Sometimes it’s hills, sometimes it’s forest and always, for me, it’s chasing the sunrise or the sunset. Now, the gym has its place of course but, somehow, I always find it easier and more inspiring to move “out there” and, curiously, my workouts in the gym are always better when I mix them up with the outdoors. 

It's easier to concentrate and stay focused. 

Working out or going for a run is an extremely effective way to clear your mind, but it can be difficult to stay focused when you're inside. The gym can be full of distractions: people talking, TVs on, and other members working out around you. When exercising outdoors, however, none of these things are present. You don't have to worry about being interrupted by someone who wants to chat or stop their treadmill next to yours. Instead, you can listen to music and enjoy the view—especially if it's somewhere scenic like a park or beach.  

You'll be less likely to skip a workout. 

When you're outdoors, it can be easier to get started on a workout. As you begin your workout and the weather is nice, it's harder to use weather as an excuse not to work out. 

You might feel more motivated because you've decided that you want to exercise outside. I always feel I have more energy when working out outdoors because of the fresh air and sunshine. Somehow, I always get rewarded with the sunshine coming through the trees in the most beautiful dapple, somehow the stars always shine on my path, and the sun always rises on it – or perhaps they are always there anyway, and I just notice them more when I work out in the wild. 

Your workouts will be more efficient and intense. 

Studies show that people who exercise outside are more likely to stick to their fitness routines. This may be because exercising outside is more exciting, so you'll have an easier time staying motivated throughout your workouts. 

It's easier to remain focused on the task at hand when you're not dealing with distractions (like a television or computer screen). You can also do more exercises outdoors than inside, like running through parks or playing sports at the park with friends. Since most people enjoy being in nature, doing their workouts outside is often more enjoyable than doing them indoors. 

Plus, there are many benefits of exercising in even a little bit of sun! The sun's warmth helps increase your body temperature and heart rate while strengthening muscles, which improves circulation so heat dissipation will be faster during exercise. As an added bonus, your skin will glow after getting some sun! 

Well, this is my list so far. I’m sure I am missing some; I would love to hear how you workout in the wild, and where you take your SWELL FIT BAG. We can’t wait to hear about your adventures, so please share via #swellfit or via swellbeings@swellfitness.co.uk  

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