February 1st, 2021
If you are in Ontario Canada, then you know we are presently under a Stay-at-Home order mandated by the provincial and federal government. The good new is, you don’t have to stay cooped-up inside!
One way to break free is to take time to exercise outdoors, after all the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week.
People often wonder how to exercise outdoors safely, and when asked, I often suggest to start by taking the Heel-to-toe-Express!
Pending on your fitness and abilities you can go for a Walk, Hike, or Jog. And the beauty is they don’t require equipment.
To help you get motivated, here are several benefits:
Walking is a low impact weight bearing cardio exercise. Outdoor walking exposes us to sunlight, and sunlight is something our skin needs to produce Vitamin D. And Vitamin D is an important factor in our health and wellbeing, because deficit of it can weaken our bones, immune system, and can also make us susceptible to SAD (season affective disorder).
Walking is a body-weight-bearing exercise, which can help to increase/maintain your bone density. Walking also helps to freshen up your thinking (due to enhanced blood-flow to your brain), relieve stress (due to release of endorphins), promotes a healthy metabolism, and a well-conditioned heart.
NF Tip: even if you’re not walking with another person, a daily walk in nature has been proven to be very important factor for mental health.
Hiking is walking on uneven terrain and is often enjoyed on trails and foot paths. Benefits of hiking include those found in walking, plus the increased benefit to your cardiovascular system, core stability, ankle mobility, and leg strength.
Hiking also challenges your proprioception (ability to control your body while moving), this is thanks to the many micro-adjustments you must make as you move upon a changing terrain. Hiking also does a better job at conditioning your core and lower body muscles – including the spinal erectors, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and ankle muscles.
NF tip: for that extra balance and integration of your upper-body, try Nordic walking poles or a carry a walking/hiking stick with you. Using either can also help prevent a slip or fall on uneven and slippery surfaces.
Did you know, when done properly jogging is much different than running? To start the technique is much different (more on this in a future blog), and when done gently and carefully it can positively stimulate your:
- bone density,
- joint integrity, and
- cartilage elasticity – which are three very important things!
NF Tip: When jogging we often recommend to start slow, even if it’s 15-30 seconds at a time. And then slowly integrate longer jogging intervals combined with shorter rest periods overtime. For more details on how to successfully do this, just ask us.
The long-term benefits of taking the heel-to-toe express are fantastic, because a stronger heart, fitter lungs, and a greater Vo2 – which is your ability to pick-up and deliver oxygen on the neuromuscular level, all contribute to a longer and fuller life.
And as with dynamic resistance training, the cardiovascular benefits of outdoor movement is also one of the best ways bolt up your cognitive performance (improved focus, memory, and mental resilience).
So get outside and exercise, and if you want to improve your health and fitness with a customized plan then reach out to us, by requesting a complimentary consultation and mini-workout.