ESCONDIDO, Calif. – (Dec. 2011) – Need an energy and mental boost this season? Don’t let the cold winter weather slow you down from exercising outside this year. Forget the gym and head to the great outdoors.

In a recent study by the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry most trials showed an improvement in mental well-being while exercising in natural environments, compared with exercising indoors. Participants had a greater feeling of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression. They also found it easier to repeat the activity in the future.

Golden Door Spa fitness specialist Melinda Nelson, who implements fitness programs and activities specifically designed to help guests reduce stress and stay healthy, gives tips on how to exercise outside and remain motivated this winter:

  • If you wear proper attire–gloves, hat and extra layers–you can still head out for that walk or run you love in nature. To really get in shape this winter try cross-country skiing; it can burn more than 700 calories per hour. No snow? Do pole walking (Nordic walking). The poles are a great support, use both your upper and lower body and spread out your weight to ease joint pain. Thirty minutes of pole walking is equal to 50 minutes of regular walking.
  • Change into your exercise clothes before you leave work and head for a brisk walk or run. This way, you won’t be as tempted to skip out on a much-needed workout. According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Essex, just five minutes of exercise in a natural place is enough to significantly improve mood and mental health.
  • Coordinate with a friend to workout on the days you need some motivation. Bundle up and get those muscles warm with a power walk and talk for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Make sure you are still drinking plenty of water during the winter months. Hydrating during the day will allow for a better workout.

The benefits of outdoor exercise are confirmed to be an energy boost for the winter. If you would like to get out of the cold for a week and jump-start your fitness and wellness goals for 2012, head to sunny southern California at the world renowned Golden Door Spa & Fitness Resort. We offer daily scenic hikes, outdoor boot camp, water aerobics under the blue sky, and perfect weather to give you that boost for the winter.

The original Golden Door Spa®, founded by Deborah Szekely in 1958, is home to one of the most innovative, integrative and transformative luxury retreats in the world today. Winner of SpaFinder Reader’s Choice Award in 2011 and Travel & Leisure’s 2011 World’s Best Awards, it is known for customized fitness and wellness programs, 20 miles of private hiking trails, Japanese-inspired architecture, plus a staff-to-guest ratio of 4:1. Golden Door Spa is part of the LXR Luxury Resorts & Hotels collection, a dynamic collection of resorts and hotels dedicated to an entirely new definition of luxury. For information and reservations, call Golden Door Spa at (800) 424-0777 or e-mail