I was feeling sluggish on Easter Sunday, and wasn’t excited about going for a run outside. But I knew that getting some exercise would make me feel rejuvenated and accomplished. After I pressed the start button on my Polar FT60 watch to track my heart rate and calories burned during the workout, I started the Nike Running App on my phone to track time and distance, and then put on my buddy’s new Dj mix on the Soundcloud app. My feet rhythmically started hitting the pavement, the breeze was hitting my face, eliminating that sluggish feeling, the sun was peeking through the clouds, and I snapped a photo with my phone. As I was running, my mood was elevated just by being outside, looking at the trees around me, awed by the vibrant flowers growing on lawns, the overwhelming hugeness of the sky, and the variability of the weather as it was getting more and more overcast.
I know I live in a built environment with pavement and tech gadgets, but I had a sense of connection and appreciation for nature and its beauty, and it allowed me to enjoy my run from beginning to end, which is not always the case for me on the treadmill. I believe that exercise outside can improve physical endurance and mental well-being. There are countless scholarly articles and media posts about the health benefits of exercising outdoors too. The ability to use GPS on my phone to track my distance, pace, and time is such a cool feature to maximize fitness effort and utilize the outdoors as an exercise playground! The Polar watch was equally beneficial, showing how many calories burned and level of exertion based on heart rate. I was able to keep track of my changing effort when I started and ended my run around the neighborhood, and when I cut into the nearby elementary school parking lot and dashed between the curb blocks (HR 182!! Pumpin’!).
Below is the gist of this nature and technology “ahha” moment I had regarding this phenomena.
My Benefits of Exercise/Running Outdoors Using Tech Stuff
- Didn’t drive my car. I saved gas, saved money, saved a threatened natural resource, and emitted less emissions. Not driving sparked a renewed sense of proactivity since my lazy butt didn’t rely on the car to get me to my objective.
- No treadmill. I saved electricity, reducing my Carbon Footprint. I had the GPS and HR monitor to guide the workout so didn’t need no stankin’ treadmill!
- Being outside. It’s aesthetically pleasing, nature’s elements lifted my mood, I felt calm and had a clarity of thought. The big sky reminded me of bigger perspectives to focus my energy on.
- GPS. It told me how far I was running, but the sensory stimulation of being outdoors was a nice distraction that kept me from over-thinking how far I needed to go.
- Polar Watch. Its heart rate monitor technology changed the “entropy” and lack of order of running around outside to a precise account of fitness and my energy exerted, voilà!
Whether or not you are able to integrate technology into your workouts, its still awesome to take a walk, run, or workout outside. Get some fresh air, don’t forget about the serenity the outside has amidst all the craziness of buildings and cars and noises. We can still balance nature into our technology-driven world.
- NY Times article on running outside
- This watch is like my personal trainer
- GPS is great for tracking distance, pace, time, estimated calories burned. Essential for race training too
- Listen to all kinds of music as you get your jiggy on in the gym or outside