This post is going to be less organized and more of a ramble, but nevertheless I hope it inspires you.
I’ve found myself to be a much more pleasant person to be around (my wife can vouch) when I get to ride my bike in the woods. I come back home with an ear-to-ear smile and nothing else in the world can bother me. My mountain biking “addiction” has been great for reducing my stress, even as a person who workouts regularly, exercising in nature is just different. Here’s a study to back that up: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3710158/.
I am not advocating to all my clients that they should go buy a bike and start doing what I do, but I do think you should make time to spend in nature. Here are examples of activities you can do in the St. Louis area to help reduce stress:
- Run/Jog/Walk/Bike/Rollerblade at Creve Coeur Lake, the Katy Trail, or any other paved or gravel trail
- Go hiking at one of the “60 Hikes within 60 Miles: St. Louis” that’s a book, here’s a link: https://www.amazon.com/Hikes-Within-Miles-Including-Farmington/dp/0897328833/ref=pd_sbs_14_t_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=N2B95Y9AYF8HP8X6GJ62
- Walk your dog (or child) at a nearby city park
- Do gardening
Besides one being outdoors and the other indoors, another difference between my mountain bike workouts and my regular resistance training workouts is that I put my phone away. If I tried to get my phone out while riding my bike, I would for sure crash. Now that I hear my thoughts on this as I type, I should probably put my phone away except for music while I do my resistance training. I have had texts, emails or calls interrupt my workout, and effectively end it. Everyone is so connected all day, every day. We have phones, tablets, and computers, people can reach you pretty much whenever they need to. You should take a break from it. Those of you familiar with the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” should know that exercise is part of the 7th habit. Don’t let your phone be the reason your workout sucks and you don’t effectively “sharpen the saw” to be your best.
My final thought: it is winter right now, and when the trails get wet around here, they are closed to bikers (sad face). It takes a long time for them to dry out because of the freeze/thaw effect. When I can’t ride on my favorite trails, I still go out on the Katy Trail (which is gravel and doesn’t matter if it’s wet) and do intervals. Any workout is better than no workout. If you don’t have a full hour to workout, even a 15 or 20 minute workout will go a long way. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Progress is progress and keep working towards your goals.