Are you a regular fitness buff? Does channel surfing sound like an oxymoron? Would you rather spend time moving, playing, or engaging physically than lounging and scrolling through Instagram?
Gym memberships are so last year! Ditch the sweaty sessions on big, industrial equipment, say goodbye to staring at the same wall on the treadmill or elliptical, day after day after month after year.
What if we told you that you could have your own personal gym and spa – one where you can simultaneously get in shape, enjoy gorgeous scenery, and get the benefits of fresh air and sunshine? Just think of all that Vitamin D!
Whether you love to be active, or you simply want to move more for the sake of your health, you don’t have to look any further than your own back yard. There are many ways to design a landscape that suits your active lifestyle and looks as incredible as it is functional.
These are just a few ideas for building fitness – and fun – into your yard, right alongside the patio and petunias!
If swimming is part of your regular fitness routine, why not add a lap pool right outside your own door? A pool done right – with a surrounding patio, landscaping, perhaps even a waterfall – can be not only a source of exercise but a lovely addition to your space.
And you don’t need a huge yard, either. A swim spa – with water jets that create a current for you to swim against – can offer a great workout in a very small space.
A small cabana with changing space and an outdoor shower can double as part of the décor. Add a natural stone pathway from pool to door, a few flower gardens along the way, and a rustic bench for sitting and popping on your goggles, and you’ll love looking at your environment as much as you’l love using it.
Swimming pools aren’t just for athletes and Olympic hopefuls, though. They’re just as beneficial for those with limited mobility or who suffer chronic pain but still want to exercise. Stretching and water aerobics can be a soothing, low-impact way to stay in shape, and rejuvenate your mind right along with your body.
For power swimmers and aerobicisers alike, a heated pool and attached spa can be excellent additions. As an added bonus, you can use a heated spa even during cold weather.
Whatever you do, be sure to include underwater lighting in your landscape scheme. From traditional lighting to color changing hues, you’ll be able to enjoy the water day or night.
No doubt that gardening itself is great exercise! Spend a day pulling weeds and moving stone around and you’ll discover muscles long forgotten.
But once the Zinnias are planted and the Black Eyed Susans are in full bloom, what’s a gardener to do? Enjoy your garden, of course!
For the fitness-inclined, you can turn any space into a Zen garden for your daily yoga routine, complete with soothing waterfalls, shading bamboo, and a spot to place your mat.
In fact, the outdoors is ideal for yoga, since it reconnects you to your natural environment and heightens awareness. A beautiful landscape is multi sensory, offering visual beauty as well as lovely scents, soothing sounds and plenty of texture, from rough barks to silky grasses.
Studies have shown that relaxation increases when you engage two or more of your senses. The warmth of the sun on your arms, the sound of a bird, the scent of flowers and the beauty of a leafy canopy all contribute to a tranquil mindset. Imagine doing tree pose right next to an actual tree – if that’s not living your practice, nothing is!
There are many landscape elements that can create an inspired space for yoga practice, from natural stone to soft ferns, pergolas, gazebos, lighting for yoga under the stars, décor including garden sculptures, statues and wind chimes, garden speakers for soothing music, koi ponds, bubbling streams, and more.
It can be done on a patio, deck, or on the grass – wherever you feel most comfortable and however you choose to design it into your space. And all of those elements will be an everyday part of your surroundings so you can enjoy them no matter your activity.
“Indoor” Fitness Outdoors
Can’t live without your treadmill or weight bench? You don’t need a gym for those, either. Nor do you need to relegate equipment to the corner of a basement where it becomes more of a coat hanger and cat bed than part of your exercise routine.
Why not move all of your exercise equipment into your _outdoor_ room? Imagine a beautiful patio surrounded by tall grasses and dotted with container gardens, an overhang to protect you from inclement weather, an overhead fan and some strategic lighting, plus outdoor carpeting, décor, perhaps even a television and certainly some speakers for motivating music.
They can all be part of a beautiful and functional outdoor space, one that can bring you four seasons of sights, scents and sounds to enjoy as much as it can help you stay in shape.
And why not go from a good workout to a healthy meal? Your outdoor home gym can coexist right alongside your outdoor kitchen – complete with cooking area, running water and refrigeration – so you can enjoy an energizing snack and stay hydrated all while enjoying the beauty of nature surrounding you.
If you love fitness, or even if you don’t love fitness but wish you did, you probably know that exercise has been shown over and over to improve not just your health, but your mood, reducing anxiety and depression.
But what you may not know is that studies have also shown that there’s a notable improvement in people’s mood when they exercise outdoors instead of in a gym. And isn’t fitness about body _and_ mind?
Get out of that stagnant, sterile gym and into a natural environment where you can refresh both. If you think of your yard as an extension of your living space, you can begin to design it to suit your lifestyle – one of activity, and of physical and mental health.
To explore more ways to turn your yard into your own personal gym, spa and oasis, contact us for a consultation. We’ll learn more about your lifestyle so we can design a perfect – and beautiful – space for you.