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Get Motivated: The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

Written on March 7, 2011 at 9:45 am , by

When I got back from my wedding and Vail mini-moon, I’ll admit it, I felt like I had been off my workout wagon for quite some time. After hardly missing a day of exercise for months, missing a little over a week of daily sweat-sessions left me feeling bloated, weak, and severely unmotivated to get back on that treadmill. Like my fellow staffers, I’ve got a half-marathon to prepare for on April 3rd here in NYC in Central Park, so I had to start to logging miles for my return to the racing world.

A new study from the journal of Environmental Science and Technology found that there ARE actual benefits to exercising outdoors, so I ditched my treadmill and headed outside for what seemed like the hardest workout I would have to face in a while.

Research says that just by being outdoors, among nature, will boost your mood and your mental well-being. So seeing is believing, eh? My day in the park was a cold one, but as I started trudging along in those early hours of the morning when you really just want to be in bed, the sun started shining through the trees and I started picking up my pace and actually enjoying my first day back. Being outside on my first day back to the running world was feeling way better than I had imagined. Yes, I wasn’t going as fast as I would have liked, but I was out there, and doing it.

The hardest part of working out is day one, putting one foot in front of the other and getting yourself motivated enough to just start. And even for exerciseholics like myself, day one will always be hardest and the biggest obstacle to overcome. You just have to tell yourself you’re doing it…and do it. I ended up running six miles with what seemed like a smile plastered on my face, and I owe it all to the fact that I hit the outdoors instead of succumbing to the comfort of the indoor gym. It just felt good to be out there and getting back to the basics that I love. Running. Had I stayed inside I definitely would not have pushed myself to go six miles! Like the study says, I’m more likely to get outdoors to do it again once I’ve taken that first step.

Do you need a little push to get outdoors? Watch this video and be inspired!

More from FITNESS: The 30-Minute Outdoor Workout, Make Over Your Workout Motivation