Move It Or Lose It
So we’re well and truly into the Summer by now (if you’re reading this in the Southern Hemisphere, please come back in 6 months).
Usually, when the warmer weather rolls around we start to take more interest in tuning up our bodies and moving around a bit more. I know I do. It’s probably some relic of hibernation from our distant mammalian past. More hours of daylight seems to warrant greater physical activity, particularly if that activity is outdoors. And it’s an instinct you can harness to benefit you year-round. Today, we’re going to talk about how.
Recently, I mentioned about the health benefits of getting out and about in nature. You can double down on some of the advantages of forest-bathing and sea swimming if you inject a little more intensity and bring your exercise outdoors.
Start Strong, Start Slow
If you’re feeling an energy boost from the brighter mornings and warmer days, then it’s an ideal opportunity to start up a new workout regime. And if you’d like to feel this boost to your energy, there’s no better way to jump start it than by getting out and exercising a bit more.
Ah the circle of life!
However, if you aren’t used to working out regularly, then going hell for leather straight away probably isn’t the best idea either. As we’ve discussed previously, the most beneficial behaviours are the ones you can sustain in the long run (think decades). So if you’re starting to move your body around a bit more, you’re looking to establish an exercise habit that you keep up. Going too hard, getting sore (or injured) and giving up isn’t a good look.
Instead, if you gently increase the challenges you set yourself, you can built your body up in a way that’s slower, but oh so satisfying. Plus, this gradual approach makes for a much more dramatic training montage, which you will inevitably picture as you work out.
Here’s a personal example: Once the weather started getting slightly warmer I knew it was time to start swimming in the sea again. The first day I swam, I literally only stayed in the water for long enough to overcome the initial shock. 90 seconds at the very most. A few days after that, I went for another paddle. This time I had some friends with me for moral support, and we chatted and swam a few strokes for about five minutes. I continued gradually increasing the time and intensity so that now I’m comfortable swimming steadily for around 20 minutes.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Now, a lot of you will already have some kind of a training regime in place. Maybe you’re getting some yoga classes or fitting in some pick-up basketball after work. If this sounds like you, and you’re excited by the idea of increasing your activity to match the season proceed with caution. It’s possible to get too much of a good thing, particularly with exercise.
The benefits of working out don’t happen while you’re actually doing the exercise. They come in the days after you work out, while your body adapts and you “recover”. So if you don’t have enough rest time after exercise, you’re not doing yourself any favors. If you’re already training regularly, then focus on activity, not “exercise”. You can still take advantage of the season by simply getting an additional walk through some trees once or twice a week.
Whether you’re moving slow or moving fast, just get outside and enjoy the season. And again, if it’s winter where you’re reading this, don’t worry. We’ll be done with the sun soon.