Outdoor Exercises That Will Motivate You This Fall
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Outdoor Exercises That Will Motivate You This Fall

Jul 20, 2023

Luckily, you've still got time to savor the last bits of nice weather before the cold drives us inside for the foreseeable future—and one great way to maximize your outside time is by taking your workouts outdoors. According to Ciara Gray, a Nike Well Collective trainer, there are loads of benefits to gain from al fresco exercises, and you'll be thankful for the extra time spent in nature once cooler weather reaches its peak.

"Outdoor exercises expose you to natural sunlight, which offers vitamin D, which is great for bone health and the immune system," Gray says. "Outdoor workouts offer accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and psychological benefits compared to indoor activities."

If tapping into those benefits sounds like a no-brainer, but the only outdoor exercises that come to mind are walking and running, Gray has you covered there, too. Below, she's sharing a few of her favorite ways to get creative with outdoor exercises, along with the activewear to match from Nike's new Feel Good Collection that will allow you to move freely, feel comfortable, and look stylish while you take advantage of the crisp fall weather.

If you're in an exercise slump, sometimes switching up the tempo or shifting your mindset is all you need to get back into a motivated mentality. Instead of dreading running on the treadmill again, head outdoors and focus on cultivating gratitude for the opportunity to connect with nature and appreciation for your surroundings. Gray says opting for low-impact movement like walking, hiking, yoga, or Pilates (and a non-constrictive activewear set that will move with you) is the way to go for a gratitude movement practice.

"These low-impact practices focus on being present at the moment, enhancing breathing, and providing a natural backdrop for meditation and relaxation, improving focus and reducing stress," Gray says."Regardless of the practice, find moments to practice gratitude and challenge yourself to state everything you're thankful for."

Think of your favorite pump-up song—you know, the one that always pushes you to run faster, lift heavier, or stretch deeper. It's not just in your head: Grooving out can literally make your body want to move because it lights up the area of the brain that's responsible for movement. Working out to your favorite tunes could be the motivator you need to make fitness feel fun again.

"Outdoor music challenges [are] a fun and unique way to exercise outdoors, suitable for all ages and skill levels," Gray says. "With a Bluetooth speaker or headphones, anyone can enjoy a rhythm-based activity with a soundtrack that provides freedom and excitement."

For an outdoor music challenge, Gray recommends doing as many reps as possible of one exercise during each part of the song. For instance, during the verse you could do squats, and then switch to mountain climbers once you hit the chorus. Just make sure you're wearing activewear that's compressive but not too tight so you can really let loose, Gray says.

Miss the childlike joy of playing outside? Then pull on a flexible activewear set that can handle lots of movement, and head to your local park and prepare for an outdoor training circuit that'll rival the fun of recess.

Turn a long walk into a game by performing 10 reps of a bodyweight exercise (think: push-ups, lunges, or planks) when you pass a landmark item such as a stop sign, bench, or dog. If you have access to an empty playground, utilize benches or steps to support yourself while you do tricep dips or stair step-ups, try jackknives on the swing set, and do pull-ups or other core exercises on the monkey bars.

"This workout engages multiple muscle groups, improves strength and endurance, and adds variety to your fitness routine," Gray says. "The mix of cardio and strength moves gives you a full-body workout and expands your attention and memory skills."

Rocky had the right idea—some outdoor stairs are really all you need for effective outdoor exercises. The idea is simple: As you climb up the stairs, do the work and as you descend, take your recovery. To start, use the staircase to walk, sprint, side-step, or hop on your way up. If you're ready to up the intensity, Gray says to incorporate bodyweight strength moves, like calf raises or plank holds (the higher your hands on the staircase, the easier planks will be).

"All of this will improve balance, coordination, and cardiovascular fitness," Gray says. "Be attentive to your foot, planting fully on each step. You can always use handrails or practice running or jogging to sprint intervals if the stairs seems intimidating."

As for your 'fit, Gray says a supportive leggings and a flexible, stable, and comfortable shoe are musts for tackling the stairs—and all your outdoor workouts this fall.