The ability to use strength and fitness equipment outside is an old concept that is gaining new traction with schools, hospitality, corporations and professional sports teams alike. Fitness equipment companies are building stronger and more durable custom equipment solutions to enable exercise and training outdoors. Traditional gyms and campus recreation centers are no longer tethered to the confines of four walls and can now introduce their students, employees and clients to a whole new world of functional fitness training in the open air.
A simple workout can become exponentially more challenging and rewarding when your body, lungs and mind are open to the outdoor elements. Vitamin D, the wind and the occasional rainstorm can create a fulfilling contrast to your standard indoor reps. By taking your routine outside, athletes free themselves from the sweat, smells, and germs perpetuated by vents and HVAC systems inside of conventional gym walls.
When an athlete is engaged outside, there is a new emphasis on their breath, the agility of their muscles and the focus of their thoughts to account for when their senses are activated. This total body connection can be the newfound stress-reliever the average college student may be lacking throughout the semester. Additionally, the allure of a sunny workout allows students to anticipate a certain rejuvenation after countless hours in a library or classroom.
That said, in stark contrast to the monotony of any student’s daily grind, outdoor exercise can also encourage creativity and reduce boredom. There is new scenery to take in, new people to meet and new experiences to gain. Rather than doing crunches on a sweaty mat inside, work your abs by doing knee tucks from an outdoor pull up bar. Rather than lifting dumbbells in front of a mirror, do a few squats while you look out over a placid lake — the new tweaks to old drills are endless when you’re outside.
It is this positive engagement with the world around you that can also greatly increase your peace of mind, something college students often seek but don’t know where or how to find. A school’s campus recreation department can grow and offer more group classes if workouts are available outdoors. Further still, the local weather and climate can also strengthen a bond to the school a student chose to attend: squats in the southern California sun, muscle-ups in the Michigan snow or pull-ups in the Portland rain. No matter what your environment, you will form more lifelong associations with the accomplishments you achieved at the university you chose.