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Jillian Michaels' 7 Best Motivation Secrets for Exercising Outside

The fitness star shares her exclusive tips for getting outdoors every day.

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Regardless of the activity that takes you there, spending time outside in nature comes with a wide range of health benefits. In fact, a 2019 study published in the journal Science Reports found that people were more likely to report high levels of physical and mental well-being when they spent at least 120 minutes per week outdoors. This held true for older adults and those with chronic health issues, the study authors wrote.

Meanwhile, getting a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise can also boost your health, leading to a significantly lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, bone disorders, and all-cause mortality. Given the robust benefits of going outdoors and getting physical, it seems only natural to pair the two.

That's why Best Life spoke with Jillian Michaels, a world-renowned personal trainer, author and television personality, health and wellness expert, creator of The Fitness App by Jillian Michaels, and host of the long-running podcast Keeping It Real: Conversations with Jillian Michaels. She says there are several ways to motivate yourself to get outside every day while reaping ample health benefits.

Read on to learn the fitness star's top seven exclusive tips for making the great outdoors a perfect backdrop for your fitness journey.

RELATED: 8 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Take a Daily Walk.

Channel your inner child.

older white man rollerblading and giving the thumbs up

Michaels says the first key to getting outdoors every day is to find an activity that genuinely sparks joy and excitement.

"Remember as a kid how you would be outdoors until after the sun went down, riding your skateboard or shooting hoops with the neighborhood kids? Bring that joy back into your life by engaging in an outdoor activity you still love," she tells Best Life.

The health and wellness expert notes that every season presents an opportunity to try something new, whether that's rollerblading, biking, paddle boarding, or ice skating.

"As long as you love it, get outside and do it," she says, adding, "I personally can't wait to snowboard this winter!"

Connect with friends.

Two Older People Exercising Outdoors
hedgehog94 / Shutterstock

By making your outdoor time social, you can double down on the physical and mental health benefits. Michaels suggests inviting friends to join you for the outdoor activities you love, rather than defaulting to always meeting up over dinner or drinks. Besides ensuring that you both spend more time outdoors, you may also find that you bond more deeply over these mutual interests.

"Whether it's pickleball, a pickup game of basketball, an outdoor fitness class, or a running group, exercising with peers helps hold us accountable while providing support and community," she says.

RELATED: 5 Morning Stretches That Will Instantly Boost Your Energy, Experts Say.

Try a wearable fitness tracker.

Shot of a senior man standing alone outside and checking his watch after going for a run

Another way to motivate yourself to get outside every day is to track your progress, says Michaels. She personally aims to take a minimum of 5,000 steps daily, with an ultimate goal of 10,000 steps whenever possible.

The wellness expert recently partnered with iTOUCH Wearables, a line of fitness trackers that empowers people to collect their personal data in a cost-effective and fashionable format. Each tracker comes with a 90-day subscription to Jillian Michaels: The Fitness App, which offers custom workouts, meal plans, and more.

Michaels credits her own iTOUCH tracker for providing her with the data she needs to reach her broader fitness goals, which she says inevitably lead her outdoors.

Make it a family affair.

Family Laughing in the Yard
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

All too often, our everyday responsibilities can hold us back from getting outdoors and getting the physical activity we need to stay healthy. This is especially true for parents of young children, who may feel as caretakers that leaving the house is more trouble than it's worth.

However, there are major benefits to making your outdoor time a family affair—including setting a culture of fitness that your children can take with them into their later lives.

"Whether it's your significant other, your kids, or your pooch, getting outside to move with your family is a great way to spend quality time," says Michaels. "My wife and I walk the dogs every night after dinner. I play soccer with my son. I take surf lessons with my daughter. This way you aren't just caring for yourself, but for the entire family."

RELATED: 9 Easy Ways to Actually Hit 10,000 Steps a Day.

Make a list of the benefits.

Beautiful young woman writing in her diary outdoors

Any time you strive to meet a new goal, it's essential to know why you're doing it. Michaels says you can stay motivated to get outside every day—and stay more physically fit in doing so—by making a list of all of the benefits you believe come with those habits.

Michaels shared with Best Life that her own reasons for getting outside every day span a wide range of perks.

"You will get your vitamin D, which has so many benefits from supporting the function of your immune system to setting your circadian rhythms. If you are out in nature, you can reap the benefits of taking in soil-borne microbes, which can help boost your microbiome which influences many aspects of your overall health. Studies show us that being outdoors can help reduce stress and boost mood," she says.

Pick a pleasant time of day.

Senior man walking through the park after his running session.

For many people, the weather can present another roadblock to getting outside every day. Michaels says you can work around this by planning ahead and choosing a temperate time of day. If the morning starts with decent conditions, try to seize the opportunity to get outdoors before the weather has the chance to turn.

However, during hot summer days, Michaels notes that both sunrise and sunset are ideal times to venture out. "This is when temperatures are coolest—plus it's a great way to start your day or wind it down on the right note."

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Make the most of your yard.

man laughing about funny responses to "how are you"
Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images

If you have a backyard, you won't need to go far to reap the benefits of spending time outdoors, Michaels says. Even backyards without any notable fitness features can offer their own benefits—just by connecting you with nature. Try going outside to stretch, do yoga, garden, read, or any other activity that you enjoy.

And, if your yard does offer any greater opportunities for athleticism, make sure you don't take them for granted, Michaels urges.

"Take advantage of backyard features if you have them! From swimming in your pool to shooting hoops on your son's basketball net, be sure to use what's readily available to you!" she says.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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