Time Spent Outdoors Paired with Exercise has been known to Cause Awesomeness!

Isn’t it great to get outside now that the weather is warmer? Feel the sun on your skin, the wind in your hair, hear the sounds of children and nature all around you! I am Kaylin, the new Fitness Director at the J, and as we get to know each other better, you will see that I really enjoy getting outside when I can. Sometimes to just sit, but often to go for a long walk or an easy paced run.

I am sure you have heard the phrase “exercise is medicine,” which is definitely true; but I would go as far as to say that just getting outside is medicine, too! In addition to the fact that it is fun, and freeing, studies have shown that outdoor activity can boost your mood, reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and overall just make you feel good. And who doesn’t want to feel good, right?

We all know that the great outdoors has many health benefits for both adults and children.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the typical American spends most of his or her day inside. In fact most of us spend almost 93% of our lives somewhere indoors or riding in some kind of transportation to be exact.

As I work full time and my work is mostly indoors too, I get how hard it can be to break away to get outdoors – but even if you can sneak a 5 minute break – I say go for it! Go ahead and tell your boss that your Fitness Director told you too, I will take the blame!

As we enjoy our summer, I really want to encourage you to take advantage of the longer hours of daylight by getting outside, not just by reading a book or lying on the beach —Do something with your family or friends by taking a run, a hike, a brisk walk, or playing an outdoor sport. Be creative! Be willing to get out of your comfort zone! Maybe even to try a new outdoor workout!

I love giving people workout advice and homework they didn’t ask me for, so I will stay true to character. Here is a simple workout you can do outside. All you need is a big glass of ice cold water, a towel, and a little space to work in.

Start with a warmup: 45 seconds; 2 rounds each.

  • Jog in place
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Alternating lunges
  • Shadow boxing
  • Front kicks

Workout: Perform this as a circuit, doing one exercise after another without rest. Then you can rest 60-90 seconds between rounds. Complete 3-5 rounds based on fitness ability.

  • 8 inchworms – Stand tall with your legs straight. Bend forward and touch the floor with both hands. Then walk hands forward while keeping your legs straight so that you almost end up in a pushup position. Lastly, walk your feet forward in small steps keeping your hands on the ground so that you end up back in the starting position.
  • 20 squats
  • 10 traveling pushups (2 each direction)
  • 20 glute bridges
  • 30 second plank
  • 30 second plank jack
  • 10 front lunges (pairs)

Cool down and stretch: Walk for 5 minutes and give yourself a well-deserved stretch as a reward for a job well done. I would even encourage you to do your stretch outside! How nice does that sound?

I hope you take my advice and enjoy the chance to enjoy some outdoor fun this summer. The J also has many options for families to stay active outdoors. While enjoying them, don’t forget sunblock and sunglasses, but do take advantage of the Vitamin D boost that comes from spending time in the sun. Vitamin D helps with bone growth and improved immune system. And if you give my workout a try, I would love your feedback.

Kaylin Payne, Fitness Director, Kaplen JCC on the Palisades

Jill RosalimskyWritten by Kaylin Payne. Kaylin possesses an M.S. in Sport Psychology and holds numerous certifications, including CPT, AFAA, TRX (1&2), Technogym Master Trainer and Digital Specialist and more. In addition, she is a USA Track & Field Coach and Head Coach at the Brearley School.