Earlier this week I was in a BAD mood (or, if you’re into Victorian-era speak, a “filthy temper”). I was overwhelmed by a to-do list, was sick of moving things back and forth, was agonizing over potential things that may or may not happen in the future, and, to completely come clean, have been feeling pretty uncomfortable in my own skin for about a week now. I’m at the “gain weight fast” phase of pregnancy, so none of my old clothes are fitting and I ripped a pair of leggings on Sunday. Grrrr.
The good news is, spring decided to show up in Maine this week. One of the best cures for a bad attitude is to get out of your own head and get outside. F’real.
Fresh air makes everyone feel better (unless you have reaallly bad allergies, in which case, maybe avoid the spring months). If I’ve hit a wall at work, am feeling cranky in general, or even if I’m in a good mood and want to keep that rolling, I head outside. Nine times out of ten, I can actually feel tension leaving my body (unless it’s really cold and my back actually tenses up). Out in the woods/on the beach/in open air generally I feel like I’m in my element…which, when you consider our general instincts, makes sense.
One benefit that I’ve noticed when I get some fresh air is feeling refreshed physically and mentally, and it turns out that’s something a lot of people experience. When I go out for midday walks at work, I’m able to come back into the office more focused throughout the day. Although it’s the opposite of having more energy, spending some time outdoors always makes me sleep like a rock at night. After a summer day at the lake, I used to get that ‘good’ sleepy feeling and had no problem falling asleep at night.
In addition to increased energy, getting outside can improve mental health (especially if you’re outside doing some sort of physical activity). Plus, if it’s sunny, you’ll get a good dose of vitamin D. A deficiency is linked to Seasonal Affective Disorder/Depression, which is common in northern states (like Maine). When I was 15, my doctor recommended taking a supplement and drinking milk because vitamin D is often added (since it helps the body process calcium). There’s also a theory that getting outside and “grounding” (standing barefoot on the earth) can help balance your body and reconnect you to a natural state/sync your biological rhythm with that of the earth. I’ve never tried grounding so I’m not sure how “legit” this is, but I will say I LOVE being barefoot when I can get away with it.
In kiddos, helps with forming depth perception/decreases risk of nearsightedness (as opposed to looking at screens all day). I actually learned about this for the first time in 2012 during one of my friend’s thesis presentations. She talked about the book “Last Child in the Woods” which I personally haven’t read yet (hello, summer reading list!), but it argues that kids are healthier when they are encouraged to play outdoors and engage in nature. We always got sent outside as kids (not that we were unwilling 🙂 ) and I’m definitely going to encourage Baby Z to get outside when the time comes.
If you’re looking for some things to do outside, here are some of my favorite things to do outside:
- Read a book on the lawn (or porch/deck/beach/etc)
- Go for a walk/run/hike
- Go Swimming
- People-watch on a busy street with a friend
I’m really excited because hiking season is here at Acadia National Park, and the Park Loop Road opens up in two days! This past Tuesday night I went out for an ambitious (for me) hike. I did the Ladder trail up Dorr Mountain (one of my favorite hikes) BUT I will say there was still some snow/really slippery spots, and I misjudged the sunset time. While I did fall once, ultimately it was a decent hike and I’ll probably wait another week-ish to do a bigger hike like that to let things melt a little.
And since it’s Fitness Friday, here’s a list of the workouts from the week:
Monday: Insanity Max 30- Max Out Cardio, PiYo Sculpt, 30 minute elliptical, 20 minute walk on treadmill
Tuesday: Insanity Max 30- Max Out Power, Dorr Mountain Hike (3.5 miles, 2 hours)
Wednesday: 30 minute elliptical, 20 minute walk, Insanity Max 30-Max Out Sweat, 30 minutes weight workout
Thursday: Insanity Max 30-Max Out Strength, PiYo Strength Intervals, 2-mile walk (was supposed to swim today, but failed at planning and forgot a towel after walking all the way over there), 30 minute elliptical
Friday: 30 minute elliptical, Friday Fight Night Round 2
What are some of your favorite outside activities?
Any benefits of being outside/in nature that you’ve experienced that I didn’t mention here?
Did you work out this week? How’d it go?