So many of us spend our lives thinking productive exercise only comes in the form of bicep curls at the gym; however, the outdoors provides a plethora of health benefits that simply can’t be found in a gym.

After moving to Colorado 3 years ago, hiking became my favorite form of exercise.

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It has become a form of self-care and adventure rather than something I check off my list.

If your New Year’s plan for exercise feels like a form of punishment, you simply won’t do it long-term. I challenge you to take advantage of the beautiful state we live in and schedule regular workouts in the outdoors.

10 Benefits of Outdoor Workouts

1. Mood booster.

Being in nature has proven to boost the mood. One study that analyzed two groups of exercisers, one in an urban environment and the other away from the city, showed that the group in a natural environment experienced greater stress reduction and mood improvement.

2. Creativity enhancer.

Being outdoors and away from our screens boosts our creative thinking. If you’re trying to get a breakthrough on a project at work or just get out of the mental funk you’ve been in, a little sweat in the outdoors is what the doctored ordered.

3. Natural incline.

Rather than walking on the belt of a treadmill and adding “elevation”, try using the stairs at your local high school, finding a hill at the park or hitting a trail with some incline.

4. Full body workouts at the park.

One of my favorite workout routines to do is just 1/2 mile from my front door.

Monkey bars, pullups, step ups and “box jumps” on the bench, toes 2 bar, pushups, balance moves….you name it.

5. Killer sprint workouts.

No other exercise has proven to get your body faster results than regular sprints. I like to run between the lacrosse goals at our local park.

Gone are the days of running on the treadmill for 2 hours a day.

Have you ever noticed has strong sprints are? Yeah, do what they do.

No other exercise makes my core as sore as sprints…..!

6. Smelling fresh air and pine trees instead of stale sweat at the gym.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good workout at the Crossfit gym, but the smells of the outdoors just can’t be beat! In fact, the smell of pine has been coined “the smell of stress relief.”

7. You aren’t comparing yourself to everyone else.

When you are on the trails hiking or paddle boarding on a beautiful body of water, you aren’t worried about how you or anybody else looks. Your focus is on the beauty around you and taking it all in.

8. More variety and adventure.

I’m all about throwing the barbell around in my garage gym, but when I can do pullups on pine trees, chop firewood for the campfire, snowshoe, climb trees, hike 14ers, plank on my paddle board, yoga at the park, monkey bar with my kids and sprint in the fresh air, you can guarantee I’m taking advantage of that as much as I can.

9. Vitamin D

Low levels of vitamin D have been shown to be a cause of low immunity and frequent illness during the winter.

Additionally, low Vitamin D levels contribute to seasonal affect disorder and

There’s no better way to get your levels up then 15 minutes in the sunlight. You get a double-whammy health benefit here!

10. Enhances energy levels.

Have you ever stepped outside in the cold air in the winter and felt immediately energized?

As long as you are dressing appropriately so the cold doesn’t make you miserable, the winter chill is going to have you energized for hours.

Stock up on Power Pucks and the new Gluten-Free Muffins from Share Good Foods to fuel your outdoor adventures! They are packed with nutrient-dense, complex carbohydrates that stabilize blood sugars and provide natural energy.