Take Your Workout Outdoors and Feel the Physical and Emotional Benefits
Here is a recent interview I did with Best of You Today, that I hope you will find interesting.
My great love is getting people excited about connecting with the outdoors. What's even more thrilling is to see someone exercising in any outdoor environment. Truth is, fitness is simple. The tricky part is figuring out how to fit in exercise - daily. Here, you'll find tips on how to create workout opportunities around your neighborhood, how to get focused and stay focused on your goals, and why training outdoors is far better for you than indoors.
Best of You Today Interview with Tina Vindum:
While Americans spend 93% of their time indoors, research shows fresh air, plants, trees and natural outdoor elements have a profound positive effect on our health and well-being. The author of Outdoor Fitness and founder of Outdoor Action Fitness, LLC, fitness expert Tina Vindum says getting exercise outdoors breathed new life into her workout routine, and she enjoys sharing our outdoor approach to exercise. We asked Tina some fitness questions that have been on the minds of BOYT members.
BOYT: Tina, thanks so much for your interest in answering our readers questions! First we would love to know, have you always been an outdoor fitness enthusiast? And secondly, what was your inspiration to write your book Outdoor Fitness?
Tina Vindum: Yes I have. I was actually raised in the mountains of Lake Tahoe. That was my playground. It has everything for a kid to run around and climb on. What motivated me to create a program was being an athlete and a skier. We'd usually train in the fall in the gym. It was uneventful. One day, I rebelled and decided not to do it anymore. I stepped out the gym, hopped on my mountain bike and started riding up a trail. I started to create my own program with push-ups, pull-ups, running down the hills and more. That ski season, I was stronger than I'd ever been. People started paying attention and asking me what I was doing. After that, I learned about kinesiology and got my certifications and started my program.
BOYT: What was a typical outdoor workout for you?
Tina Vindum: A thing that everyone seems to forget is that a little bit goes a long way. So I'd always find myself doing hill sprints and running as fast as I could back down, slaloming the pine trees. I'd often try to push myself for short increments of time. That’s great for skiing, and crosses over to so many areas, both mentally and physically.
The other method I found to be fun is what I call "free-styling." You literally find any place where you can work out. Most urban areas have parks and plazas with steps and benches for props. In the mountains, you have these creeks that run dry by the end of summer and you can bound your way up these riverbeds. The point is to create your own obstacle course and have fun with it.
BOYT: How does outdoor exercise differ in terms of health benefits from the gym or indoor exercise?
Tina Vindum: The greatest thing about being outdoors, no matter where you are, is the ever-changing terrain. This challenges our body to move in ways it was designed to. When you're running or working out on a trail, you often move side-to-side, up and down, and diagonaly. This helps you gain muscle and strengthens your joints. Kinesthetic awareness is when we know where we are in space and time. Having that control will help you move and age gracefully.
The quality of outdoor air is much cleaner than indoor air by two to three times. That's 75% cleaner than indoor air. Beyond that, the biophilia effect suggests there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems (plants and animals). Our genetic code tells us we need to be connected. When we get away from it, we don't feel well.
BOYT: For women that have limited time to exercise, can you offer a short 30 minute combined strength and cardio routine?
Tina Vindum: There are many moves that you can link together to create a more effective workout for yourself. I like to use a combination of walking lunges for strength and cardio. When you add a palm-to-palm press with a rotational twist, you'll work your core muscles. What's more, the palm-to-palm press will engage your upper body (chest, shoulders, and arms). If your left leg is forward, you rotate to the left, and this includes your torso in the workout.
BOYT: Do you encourage your clients to use weights?
Tina Vindum: You can use weights if you want, but it's not completely necessary. We need to do resistance exercises, as well as weight-bearing exercises. Body weight and gravity exercises are fabulous; however, I see many people do it way too fast. If we can slow things down and stall out the moves, you'll recruit more muscle fiber to the exercise. Body weight is great when executed well and slowly. If we really think about what we're doing, we will fire more muscle fiber. That's really important because muscles are either on or they're not. There is nothing in between.
BOYT: For someone that isn’t able to run, or prefers hiking or walking, can you offer a sample workout?
Tina Vindum: Walking is a great form of exercise. I think it's the most underrated form of exercise. Intervals are wonderful. It doesn't have to be very structural. When you see a hill, push it out and work your glutes! Think about pushing your muscles to get up the hill.
BOYT: Is there a difference in shoes used to run indoors and shoes used for outdoor running?
Tina Vindum: This varies from person to person, coupled with the specific activities they are doing. There is a lot of technology invested in shoes. That being said, I think it's important to get a shoes specifically for the type of activity you're doing. Make sure it fits your foot.
There is something called "ground reaction force." So, for example, if you run on concrete, which is a super hard surface, it goes directly to your joints. If you run on pavement, it's slightly softer. If you run on hard-packed dirt track or trail, it's even softer. It gets softer as you run on gravel and sand. You ask about barefoot running...with the vibrant-sole (5-toed shoes), I can't even imagine running on pavement, but I see people do it.
BOYT: In addition to exercise, do you feel nutritional supplements are important? If so, what supplements do you recommend women take daily?
Tina Vindum: If you're eating a healthy diet, you probably don't need it. I personally take the basic multi-vitamin, a really clean fish oil, and D3. I'm a big shake person in the morning with greens and nuts. I see a lot of my clients don't get enough protein in their diets. Although I don't believe we need a lot of protein, we do need to add some protein with every meal we intake.
BOYT: What ingredients are usually included in the morning shakes?
Tina Vindum: I add 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk or soy, a scoop of unsweetened whey, a scoop of greens, a couple of tablespoons of flax seeds, 1/2 cup frozen berries and ice. I also crush up a few pistachios to sprinkle on top.
BOYT: What foods do you recommend every woman include in their diet?
Tina Vindum: I'm addicted to fresh, colorful food. One food that works well for me is to have a bit of fat with protein. For example, a typical lunch for me is avocado and chicken, on a salad. This will help keep my hunger to a minimum until dinner. I don't have the urge to snack. I'm definitely not afraid to put fat into food.
BOYT: What is your advice to clients to stay motivated when having a lazy day, or have reached a plateau in weight loss?
Tina Vindum: I have what I call the "Rule of Three." It takes three seconds to make a decision. It takes three days to get into the groove of it. In three weeks, you're in the routine. It takes three months to own it and change your behavior or habit. It's about seeing beyond three months. Clearly see yourself in the future being healthy. When you picture yourself there, you start to get into that state in how you think, behave and move your body. The key is, when you see the vision of yourself so clearly, take a step into the picture and keep going. This works if you give yourself a moment to do it!
About Tina Vindum: Tina Vindum is the founder of OutdoorFitness.com. Tina’s Outdoor Fitness curriculum is rooted in back-to-basics fitness, a philosophy of bodymind integration coupled with passion for the outdoors.
Tina and her programs have been ubiquitous in national media outlets including SELF, Fitness, Martha Stewart's Whole Living, Prevention, Shape, San Francisco Chronicle, Real Simple, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and countless others. The Guardian, London, has dubbed Tina the “Original Al Fresco Guru”.
Tina is the author of Outdoor Fitness – Step Out of the Gym and into the Best Shape of Your Life (Falcon).
About Best of You Today: www.BestofYouToday.com