Physical Stress Reducers Outdoors
Aside from being a socially distanced a way to ward off hypertension, weight gain, and a host of other health problems, forest bathing or exercise also gives your mental health a boost.
“Studies have shown working outdoors may make you a happier person,” says Dr. Lawrence Bagnell.
Use this guide to make the most of your outdoor events.
1. Know that you don’t need a gym
Getting outside a few times a week walking or exercising, just to lift your spirits if nothing else.
2. Dress in loose, light-colored clothing
Exercise clothes made from fabrics that wick away moisture can keep you from feeling weighed down by sweat. Stay away from dark-colored fabrics, which attract sunlight and can make you hotter. Choose early morning or late afternoon outside of the high heat of the day.
3. Drink water
Never start a workout without water in hand. “Working out in the heat of summer can be dangerous. It’s very important to stay hydrated when exercising. Aim to drink water before and after exercise.
4. Hit the hills or stairs
“Two of my favorite outdoor workouts involve the same activity: running up hills or stairs,” Dr. Bagnell says. Jogging up and down bleachers at the local high school. Or look for hills or stairs around town for a combo cardio-and-toning workout. Alternate running stairs with strengthening exercises, such as squats and push-ups.
5. Play in the water or relax on the grass
If you are an experienced swimmer, find a community pool and swim some laps. You’ll cool off and get your heart pumping. Or look for free or low-cost fitness classes in the park. Yoga and tai chi are gentle, low-impact options.
6. Replace lost electrolytes after exercise
When you sweat, you lose important minerals. After exercise, replenish these lost minerals with foods or drinks that contain calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. Try these naturally hydrating sources: cucumbers, watermelons, low-fat yogurt, coconut water, or unsalted pumpkin seeds. Or make a “date-orade” by blending dates with equal parts water.
7. Don’t force or overdo it
To stay safe, listen to your body. If it feels too hot to work out outside, don’t. Instead, wait to exercise in the evening when temperatures cool down or early morning before temperatures heat up.