Taking it outside!

There’s nothing like the first couple days of spring. Wherever we find ourselves this year, we can all count on that same feeling when winter starts to disappear and the sun starts warming everything back to life. That feeling of bliss swept over Nablus last week and naturally that meant The Women’s Group took our fitness class outdoors. Exercise physiologists continue to find the effects of exercising outdoors outweigh the effects of staying inside. Every person’s biomechanical movements, the way their foot strikes the ground, exposure to wind resistance, and simple contact with turns and hills can drastically change their entire workout. Exercising outdoors tends to encourage more strenuous activity than its indoor version, and interestingly people taking themselves outdoors are able to endure longer bouts of exercise than those limiting themselves by staying inside. But aside from those obvious benefits, the simple exposure to nature and soaking up some of the sun’s Vitamin D naturally causes mood to enhance.

Study after study continue to show the scientific community that exercising outside, in the world’s natural elements, improves a person’s mental wellbeing. Being outside is linked to greater feelings of revitalization and positive thoughts; it decreases stress, tension, confusion, and anger, all while combating depression. On top of that, people claim to have increased energy levels and personal satisfaction following a bout of outdoor exercise. With a prescription like that, why wouldn’t you want to be outside on a beautiful day?

Trying to sneak past the other team’s defense to “Capture the Flag” outside TYO.

This week The Women’s Group and I enjoyed getting out of our usual space and taking over the outdoor grounds here at TYO. Although there was some reluctance at first, as soon as class ended came an overwhelming number of requests to go back out next time. Climbing stairs, skipping up hills, and some pretty competitive games of capture the flag had everyone working up a sweat but more importantly, everyone was constantly smiling. And for me, seeing these women express themselves in more and more dynamic ways each class is what keeps me smiling! Laughing, joking around, and working together with at least 50 women daily has me looking forward to every class session and after these 8 weeks together, it’s going to be impossible for me to forget the sound of their laughter.

The Women’s Group agrees, it’s great exercising outside!

- Emily

Emily is an intern at TYO in Nablus.