A beautiful ride along the Caloosahatchee River (W. Riverside Drive, Fort Myers). Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.
Go green, minimize your carbon imprint, recycle are common words and phrases we often here in relation to the environment.
But have you ever considered going green with your workouts too?
Nature has very powerful well-being benefits.
Whether you’re going for a run, riding your bike, taking a personal training session in the park or doing boot camp on the beach, there are countless opportunities for Floridians to get outside and exercise.
More than just a popular training environment, it turns out that people who exercise outdoors in their natural settings are benefiting from more than just their sweat efforts.
Research has repeatedly shown that time spent in nature has numerous well-being benefits, including everything from reduced blood pressure readings to heightened immunity and improve mood.
Despite our largely indoors, air-conditioned lives, getting outside and back to nature is one of the best things we can do for our health.
For some people, their outdoor exercise will be only of the only times they get out and experience nature all week.
Compared to the indoors, exercising in a green environment can shed a negative mood, lessen anxiety and decrease depression.
In addition, green exercising can improve an already good mood, enhancing the overall experience.
In 2011, a study that was published in Environmental Science compared exercising indoors with exercising in natural environments.
The results found that those who exercised in natural environments reported greater feelings of revitalization and increased energy.
The same people also reported decreased feelings of tension, confusion and anger.
So why do we feel so much better?
One theory is that by spending time in natural environments, our concentration and overall functioning is restored.
This is because compared to our indoor environments which are full of mentally fatiguing stimuli (phones, TVs, computers), our outdoor environment require more effortless attention.
Interestingly, the same 2011 study also reported that exercisers who sweat in the green reported lower rates of perceived exertion (how hard the exercise felt), greater enjoyment from exercise and a higher retention rate.
If you're new to exercising outdoors, take time to adapt.
Start with a few minutes at the end of your workout to do some cool down stretches, relax and enjoy the ambiance of the natural setting before rushing off to work or your next appointment.
This serves as a perfect time to enjoy the peacefulness of nature.
Looking for a green site to get some exercise in Southwest Florida?
We have plenty of local and state parks.
Try Koreshan State Park, Lakes Regional Park, Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, John Yarbrough Linear Park or CREW Land & Water Trust to start.
For more ideas on a location close to you, simply Google "Florida Parks" and take your workouts outside.
Angie Ferguson is an exercise physiologist and Tony Robbins Results Coach from Fort Myers. She also is a Corrective Biomechanics Specialist, USA Triathlon Advanced Level 2 coach, USA Cycling coach, has a Specialty in Sports Nutrition certification, and a PhD in results!
Contact her, or find out more about her monthly online program, at: www.GearedUP.biz!