“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect.” Alice Walker

Growing up in the Cook Islands, I spent the vast majority of my childhood outdoors. We had no concept of mobile phones and couldn’t afford a Gameboy.

The whole island, from the turquoise lagoon to the cloud-piercing mountains, was my playground and every inch of it was navigated barefoot. 

My mother would say it was good for me and my little brother but, despite this being a fact, it was more likely that mum was just trying to get some peace and quiet. She wasn’t really aware of just how beneficial it was.

I now spend most of my time in an equally beautiful part of the planet: Byron Bay. 

A small but very popular beach town on the most easterly point of Australia, Byron is a scenic picture of rolling green hinterland that seamlessly meets pristine surf beaches. Having this stunning environment on my doorstep means I don’t need much of a reason to get outside, especially with ViPR, but what about those of you living in more seasonal or urban areas? What are the incentives for you to grab your ViPR and train outdoors?

Well, just like looking for a suitable mate, let’s start at the eyes and work our way down. Being outdoors allows aspects of our ocular motor skills to be enhanced. This is because our eyes are constantly tracking and simultaneously trying to process the depth, colour and range of our surroundings. Due to our parameters now being far greater than the four walls of the gym, home or the prison cells that are our device screens, this supercharges your senses. Combine that with the multitude of tasks you perform with ViPR and you’ve got Christmas for your central nervous system. 

Now for our largest organ, the skin, which is naturally improved by the use of ViPR through the excitation of fibroblasts. This occurs when you create lines of stress by shifting ViPR away from your core in any direction. These cells create collagen, elastin and reticulin – all the proteins that make up your skin and connective tissue. Add sunlight (being outdoors) and you have a perfect environment for the production of those tissues. Healthy doses of sun exposure from training outdoors, especially earlier in the day (even on cloudy days) also have a huge role in setting your biological clock. This can improve your mood, immune system, energy levels and sleep patterns.

Detoxification and thermal regulation due to better airflow are also enhanced when outside.

If possible, kick your shoes off. Training barefoot will increase the feedback from the ground to your brain. It’ll improve the dexterity in your feet, and strengthen your ankles and the surrounding muscles – you’ll also upgrade your proprioception. 

There is something extremely satisfying about grounding yourself to the earth. In my culture, the Māori can inherit mana ‘life force’ from the environment. You can liken it to feeling completely regenerated, even though you have exerted yourself training. 

The rugged construction of ViPR means it can handle virtually everything you can. Whether it’s water, sand or grass, you can create tensegrity in an infinite amount of ways with the added benefit of a view. This segues itself into creativity.

Having no boundaries or walls gives you endless potential for movement patterns and drills, allowing you to get super creative with your ViPR. The air quality is much better outdoors as opposed to an air-conditioned gym, which is always beneficial considering the current global environment. 

Having unlimited space allows for unlimited participants! I love bringing people together and giving them purpose through health and movement. Tribe is one of my pillars of success in life and business. Like all Polynesians who grew up in the islands, I was raised by the village. To me, life is meaningless without a community of individuals to share in life’s trials and achievements. You are kept accountable by your elders or those with more experience and your ego is checked constantly by your peers. In terms of longevity, having a sense of belonging and others to rely upon supersedes even frequent activity when it comes to long-term health benefits and healthy ageing. 

For me personally, the most important feature of using ViPR outdoors is that it is fun. I am at one with the world when I am alone on a deserted beach or coaching a group atop an ancient headland with panoramic views and ViPR in hand. The realm of innovation is made vast and my potential for progress unlimited. My breath becomes deep and vivid, as I am now hyper aware of how blessed I am to be alive. We as a society don’t make sufficient time for healthy fun, nor do we appreciate the sensation of being outside nearly enough. We have become victims of our devices and workloads. Even our health and fitness is considered a luxury item that we HAVE to do, rather than an innate gift that we GET to do. 

Like the opening quote suggests, nothing in nature is perfect. I believe movement with ViPR is the same. No pattern you perform with ViPR is ever an exact replica of the rep before it, but in that is its beauty. That is variability and variability in movement breeds omnidirectional resilience in our bodies. This is what separates ViPR from every other tool in the fitness industry.

I hope this will convince you to at least consider taking ViPR with you on your next outdoor adventure – and that the video I’ve made to complement this blog encourages you to visit Byron Bay!

Stay healthy, stay happy and be kind … always.

Joe is a Cook Island former athlete who has been in the fitness industry for over 20 years. He is currently the director/head coach at Mana Fitness & Nutrition a specialist studio in Byron Bay, Australia. Joe is a staunch advocate of family and community with a passion for serving and empowering his tribe with the education and tools required to be their best selves. He is a relentless motivation with a limitless work ethic who absolutely loves his life and the people in it.