Living your best life, and finding your inner glow means taking care of yourself from the inside out. There are a few elements to consider when striving for optimum health and wellness; getting enough rest, allowing yourself time to do the things that make you truly happy, nourishing your body with hydrating foods, and maintaining a good level of fitness.
Does the idea of hitting the sweaty gym with hundreds of others fill you with dread? You’re not alone.
Studies have found that people who exercise outdoors show an improvement in mental well being, compared to exercising indoors. Exercising in natural environments was also found to stimulate feelings of revitalisation and increased energy, as well as decreased feelings of tension and depression! That’s what we like to hear!
There are lots of options available to work up a sweat outside, without having to commit to an uber-expensive gym contract. We’ve picked five of our favourite outdoor activities, some of which don’t even cost a thing!
PURE GLOW CLEANSE FAVOURITE: BEACH YOGA
Beach yoga is a staple Aussie activity. In fact, it’s not just a way to exercise for dedicated yogis, it’s a total way of life, helping to cope with the stresses of everyday life and maintain an overall sense of calm.
There are so many benefits to yoga, including increasing flexibility, strength, improving immunity and breathing. Yoga is the perfect choice for cross training if you’re including other high-intensity exercises like running and cycling into your health and fitness regime.
Beach yoga has the added benefit of connecting you with your natural environment; toes in the sand, sea breeze in your hair, what’s not to love?
If you’re looking for beach yoga in Perth, check out Tamara Yoga at Swanbourne Beach or Beach Pilates (for Pilates and Yoga) at Scarborough beach.
If you love the idea of yoga, but prefer to keep it indoors, we absolutely love Rhyanna‘s Vinyasa yoga classes at Mosman Park.
There’s one very good reason why so many runners are hooked: the high. Except, this high is one that is actually very good for you. Researchers have found that joggers live longer than inactive people, and have improved overall health.
Running is a high-impact choice of exercise, so if you decide to take it up from scratch with something like the Couch to 5k app, we recommend taking up strength training, or beach yoga to keep your supporting muscles fit and strong. It helps to prevent long-term injuries, plus it’s always good to mix things up so you don’t get bored!
There are heaps of pretty amazing fun-runs throughout Australia, if you decide you want to challenge yourself. It also helps to have the added incentive to get outside and pound the pavement!
You can check out the Australian Running Calendar to find one near you.
THE JOY OF WALKING
Consistent, gentle exercise such as walking has so many benefits and is less intimidating than running for those at the beginning of their journey to health and wellness, or older people who simply want to maintain good health. Having said that, walking is not and should not be limited to those groups. We should all try and incorporate extra strolls into our day!
It’s not just your physical fitness that is improved by taking up walking, researchers have found that during, and after walking your creativity is increased by as much as 60%, which makes this an ideal respite during the working day, and could be just the inspiration you need to keep going during the afternoon slump.
Japanese researchers led by Dr Yoshiro Hatano found that the average person walks around 3,500 to 5,000 steps per day, but increasing this number to 10,000 per day would have massive health benefits. The World Health Organisation (WHO) now recommends all adults should reach 10,000 steps per day.
Wearable fitness trackers such as Fitbit, Apple Watch or our personal favourite Bellabeat are becoming more popular by the day as people like having access to more information about their bodies, and how they can improve. So if you want to know how much you’re moving (and sleeping), and whether you’re reaching the magic 10,000 steps each day, then a wearable fitness tracker could be a worthwhile investment.
Everyone is capable of walking for exercise, to get fresh air and connect with the world outside. It’s as simple as chucking on your trainers (or even a pair of comfortable flats) and going for a morning wander. Or taking your lunch with you to a nearby park during your afternoon break. The thing to remember is something is better than nothing when it comes to exercise, and walking is a less daunting option than running or cycling if you need to start gently.
Forget the drinks and dinner; walking with friends can be a healthier alternative for evening and weekend catch-ups. Did you know the average person walking 6 km/hr will burn about 300 calories in an hour? If you do decide to head out for dinner afterwards, you can feel better about enjoying a bit of what you love.
Tip: We LOVE the Headspace meditation app (many of us on our team use it!); it teaches how to be mindful and find a sense of calm in a variety of different situations and makes meditating a no-brainer. Headspace has a walking meditation, which would help you to benefit even more from your strolls.
OUTDOOR TRAINING WITH A VIEW
As the days are getting warmer, the popularity of outdoor training across Australia is soaring. Watching the sunrise while getting your sweat on at the beach, or getting back to nature and working out in a park.
Outdoor training is a healthy way to socialise with your friends, and meet new ones along the way, with the added bonus of being in the beautiful outdoors! It is the ultimate choice for those who need guidance or lack confidence about what exercises they should be doing. Another benefit of group training is the accountability factor; it’s harder to skip out on a workout when there are other people training with you.
If you prefer more of a one-on-one approach, personal training might be more appealing (although less kind to your bank balance), and most trainers will now offer the option of taking your session outside.
Our favourite Perth-based personal trainer is Moira O Brien, who offers clients a holistic approach which includes diet, exercise and sleep management; all of which are important factors to help you feel your very best!
Check out the Local Business Guide to find an outdoor training group or personal trainer in your local area around Australia.
SWIM YOUR STRESS AWAY
Ocean swimming, ocean pool swimming, indoor pool swimming, outdoor pool swimming, saltwater pool swimming there are so many ways to keep fit, both indoors and outdoors, if swimming is your thing.
If it’s a full body workout you’re after, swimming is the one for you! Being a low impact activity means it’s good for those with joint problems, plus it makes another excellent cross-training exercise paired with other activities like running, and weight training.
Do you live by the beach? Why not take advantage of the ocean pool and swim a few laps? Even those who aren’t confident enough to venture into the surf can reap the stress-busting benefits of ocean swimming.
And if you’re in Perth, visit Swim Club for a list of swimming centres across the state.
So there you have it, if you thought you had to join a gym to keep fit and healthy, then hopefully we’ve convinced you otherwise.
Whichever activity you decide is for you, just remember to wear sunscreen this summer. With the impending El Niño, and the high incidence of skin cancer in Australia, it’s more important than ever to take care of your skin (the largest organ in the human body don’t you know!).
And of course, make sure you stay hydrated throughout. It’s not just essential for your long and short-term health, but you won’t be able to function at your best. It’s been found that losing just 2% of your body fluid can cause up to a 25% reduction in your performance (not to mention head aches, tiredness and trouble with post-work out muscle recovery).
HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD YOU BE DRINKING?
- Pre-workout: Drink about 500ml of water in the two hours before you work out. Then drink about half this again about 20 minutes before you head out.
- During workout: Sip around 200ml of water every 15 minutes. If it’s really hot, or a particularly hard workout you can always use coconut water for a natural solution to help replenish electrolytes (plus it contains heaps of skin-boosting benefits to help you glow!)
- After workout: Doctors recommend weighing yourself before and after your workout. For every 0.5 kilograms of water weight lost, you should be drinking about 500ml of water or sports drink to keep hydrated.
Do you have a favourite outdoors activity in the summer? Or any tips and recommendations on groups in your area? Let us know in the comments.