The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming and we’re starting to forget about all the time we spent under sweaters and blankets this winter dreaming of these days.
Now that spring is here, we may not feel like we’re ready for it. We may be feeling less than confident about our bodies that have been hidden under cozy layers for four months.
Curb the End of the Winter Blues
Regardless of the number of workouts we may have skipped to cozy by the fire, let’s cut ourselves some slack. I wouldn’t change time spent with my hubby or girls for the world. They’re growing more each day, and I’m not going to miss it for a half-hearted time at the gym.
Taking care of our bodies is a priority, but spending time beating ourselves up about winter workouts is unproductive and detrimental to our confidence. So it’s time to give ourselves a break and celebrate all our bodies have done for us, like delivering our babies.
Since the winter blues and gym workouts are finally behind us, we can express gratitude for our bodies and the sunny days ahead.
Why Outdoor Workouts Are Better Than the Gym
Outdoor workouts provide benefits that exceed the gym, aside from just the absence of muscle tanks. Research has shown that being exposed to trees and plants decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, resting heart rate, and blood pressure. Please, Mother Nature — from one mama to another — lower my blood pressure.
Getting your sweat on outside also elevates vitamin D levels. This boost from the sun is synthesized as a fat-soluble vitamin, boosting your immune system and bones.
Here are six of the best outdoor workouts you should try.
- Outdoor yoga: I’m a little partial here, but taking my mat outside the walls of my house is something I dream of every January. Practicing in the outdoors allows every breath to bring a lungful of fresh air into my body. That’s a welcome change after months of being cooped up.
- Park bench HITT workout: We can take our kiddos to the park and find a bench to get our sweat on. Try this quick park bench workout:
- Five jump squats
- 10 step-ups on each leg
- 10 pushups
- 10 tricep dips
- 30-second plank
Complete this set, then rest 60 seconds and repeat. Push yourself to do as many sets as possible. You got this, mama!
Exercising around our kids is a great way to be mindful of the example we’re setting for them. As a mom, I want my girls to see me pushing my body, taking care of it and appreciating it. Raising girls in today’s world is a big responsibility, but what an opportunity to set an example of loving our bodies for what they can do, rather than the size of our jeans.
- Obstacle course: Set up an obstacle course in your backyard. You could run between stray toys scattered throughout the yard. If you’re looking for something a bit more intentional, give this DIY obstacle source a try and repeat as many times as possible:
- 30-second jump rope
- 10 weighted ball tosses
- 30-second frog jump
- 30-second cone agility work
- Walk the neighborhood: I don’t know about you, but my girls love to go for walks. Let’s break out the double stroller and get a sweat in! Start with a speedy walk and work your way up to a jog as your body allows. Jog for as long as you can, then walk for a minute and repeat.
The change in landscape makes you feel less like a hamster on a wheel, and more in tune with nature and your body. The varying nature of outdoor terrain challenges your body with different levels of incline, putting more muscle groups to work than indoor equipment could.
- Workout tribes: Your own tribe of mindful mamas makes perfect workout partners. Get a group to stick around after you drop your kids off at preschool and take to the playground for a more intense workout and repeat as many times as possible:
- Swing on the monkey bars
- 10 leg-raised push-ups on the balance beam
- 10 jumps over the balance beam
- Run up the slide
Getting outdoors with the gals that inspire us will lift our spirits and maybe our bums, too! Who doesn’t want that?
- Carry a car seat and groceries from the car to the front door: This is self-explanatory — and it is totally a valid workout, mamas. After all, you’re lifting heavy weights and getting your cardio in.
Let’s get our sweat on and appreciate the weather these beautiful spring days have to offer. The sun is finally shining, and it’s time to get moving!