Hi, my name is Desiree Winkel, owner and founder of Fitness Coaching. Fitness Coaching is a studio/gym where you can work out with professional trainers. Among the workout programs we offer are boot camps, cardio boxing, weight loss training, group training and personal training.

It is well known that a lot of my clients – and probably you too – like to train outside. A workout outside of your gym will give you a whole new experience – the fresh wind in your hair as you train in the hills of Sint Maarten or on the beach.

A bootcamp can be done with your own body weight – body weight exercises like squats, lunges and planks – or it can contain natural elements like lifting stones, coconuts or wood. A bootcamp with weights and kettlebells is very challenging in a different way.

When you train outdoors, your body reacts differently to the way it does during indoor exercise. It starts with how we pay attention to the world around us and function within it.

During most of our waking hours, we use our directed attention ability, which helps us stay on task, take an exam or drive in heavy traffic. Sometimes, our directed attention leaves us feeling mentally fatigued and even stressed.

By contrast, being in natural settings will trigger involuntary attention. We use this when watching a flickering campfire or the moving water of a stream. Involuntary attention is easier on the mind, helping to rebuild and renew directed attention strength – so very important for us to trigger more often.

When people exercise outdoors in nature, they are not only exercising their body, but likely restoring attention and receiving physiological stress-reduction benefits. It's a whole-body effect versus just the physical. Research findings have shown that walking in a park setting for 20 minutes improved the attention performance of children with attention deficits, compared to walking in more built settings.

Similarly, another study shows that walking in natural environments or even simply looking at pictures of nature scenes restored the cognitive functioning of a group of college students.

Combining nature and physical activity produces a positive effect on physical and emotional health. Outdoor exercise has been shown to significantly improve self-esteem and mood and reduce blood pressure. Although exercise burns the same number of calories whether performed inside or out, outdoor exercise may encourage you to burn more calories because it's often cheaper and easier than a gym or fitness club, usually provides a better visual and sensory experience than being inside and may be more easily adapted to your changing interests and needs.

Exercising in a natural environment produces higher levels of positive emotions, with less tension and stress, which encourages you to exercise longer. So combine gym and personal studio with outdoor activities. To see fast improvement, it’s important to vary your routine every now and then.

Try our beach bootcamp; it’s a total body workout open to males and females of all fitness levels. Our next beach bootcamp is scheduled for Tuesday, September 10, at 6:15pm. You will work on your endurance, strength, power, balance and stability as you enjoy the lovely open-air and great ocean-view of Kim Sha Beach. Fee? Only US $8 per person.

If you have questions or need more information about Fitness Training, call 524-7700. We are located on Welfare Road, next to North Eastern Insurance, on the first level of the building. Like Fitness Coaching on Facebook or Instagram.