13 March 2013
Outdoor exercise provides many benefits
It’s just about that time of year to dust ourselves off, emerge from our hibernation and stretch our limbs outdoors! Some of us may have been motivated enough to get to the gym over winter, and that’s admirable. But let’s face it – it’s so much more inspiring to be able to breathe fresh air and feel the sun on your skin when you’re working out.
And if you need any more convincing, there are loads of reasons why outdoor exercise is more beneficial to health than sweating it out in a crowded gym. Here are just a few:
- Mental health: Outdoor physical activity has a 50 percent greater positive effect on mental health than going to the gym. Researchers from Glasgow University found that walking, running, biking and other outdoor activities in green space lowered stress. Outdoor exercise has been associated with greater decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression when compared to indoor activity. Even just five minutes of exercise in a green space can improve mood and self-esteem.
- More energy: Exercise itself is sure to reinvigorate you when you're feeling sluggish, but fresh air can up the effect. Just 20 minutes outside can rev you up as much as a cup of coffee… and is far more beneficial.
- Higher Vitamin D Levels: After the winter, we could ALL use some more of this mood-boosting vitamin. It also plays an important role in improving how our bodies are able to fight off disease and infection. It may be especially helpful for people with a few pounds to lose, since overweight people are almost twice as likely to not get enough vitamin D.
- More activity: It has been observed that people who exercise outdoors are more likely to stick at it. The fresh air, the sunlight, the scenery and the open space all seem to inspire more activity. It’s simple - the more you enjoy your workout, the more likely you will be to do it again.
So now that the weather is getting warmer, put these benefits to the test. You’ll be happier and healthier for the effort!