These Outdoor Exercises Have Benefits You Can’t Find at the Gym
By: Mallory Leone
You’re more likely to exercise when you’re having fun. So why not break the monotony of your gym sessions and get outdoors? These exercises will work muscles you miss in the weight room, and being outside has benefits in and of itself.
How do you hack your beach visit so that you get ripped, meditate, and work on your tan all at the same time?
Stand-up paddleboarding is growing in popularity as a fun way to be in nature, and it doubles as great biohack. Here’s how SUP makes you awesome:
It’s low-impact. You can get great endurance workouts by paddling for hours without the aches and injuries that can come from running. Luckily, falling is low-impact too (and it doubles as cold-water therapy!)
The surface is ever-changing. This provides a consistent challenge to your vestibular system, the part of your body that handles balance. The chaos of the water means you’ll be adapting to any direction of force and training lots of little stabilizer muscles in your ankles, around your spine, and so on, as opposed to the unidirectional movements you get from exercising in a gym.
Fast? Slow? Your choice. For some people, SUP is a form of moving (or barely moving) meditation. Other folks paddle like a shark’s chasing them. Whether you’re looking for mindfulness, a killer workout, or both, is up to you
You’re on the water. And that’s just fun. Your body and mind will thank you.
Slacklining is the sport of balancing on a rope or strip of webbing, sort of like a tightrope, but generally not stretched as taut. Slacklining is a great way to add difficulty to your backflips and juggling (kidding… mostly). Seriously, though, slacklines offer a vestibular challenge that’s almost impossible to replicate in nature. You get props for just standing on it.
So what does slacklining give you?
Postural Control. Slackline training improves your balance across the board . You might think it does this by quickening your reflexes, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Slacklining teaches you to eliminate your reflexes. The principal challenge of the slackline is side-to-side oscillation. Since the line mirrors – and magnifies – every tiny muscular twitch, you have to learn to control your muscles well enough to keep them still in order to properly balance.
Zen. Slacklining feels like stone-age neurofeedback. Let’s unpack that: the combination of stillness and spontaneity required to stay on a slackline pretty much necessitates being in a flow state. The moment you start thinking about how cool you look – or how hard it is – is the moment you fall off.
When was the last time you crawled around? Sometimes as adults we become get used to being upright (or, all too often, seated). Bodyweight movement exercises are a potent way to juxtapose the load on your nervous system.
Playing with these exercises will make you Bulletproof by promoting healthy mobility and functional strength. Here is a quick workout you can try today!
Everyone knows this one. Start in a sitting position and lift yourself onto your hands and feet; crawl around like a crab.
Drop into a deep squat with your heels flat on the ground and your arms resting on your knees. Then frame one knee with both arms, place your hands on the ground, put your weight in your hands, and jump to the side – the way a chimp moves around. This one’s great for opening up your shoulders and hips. As you get better, try to keep your butt lower to the ground when you jump.
Go into a tabletop position as if you were simply going to crawl. Lift your knees off the ground, and walk like a four-legged animal. Start out with your heels off the ground and, over time, work toward lowering them. This one is not easy!
Vary up the workout by moving faster, slower, farther, and even walking backward. Add extra awesomeness by doing it on the grass so that you ground yourself at the same time.
Happy biohacking 🙂
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