If you spend hours in the gym and don’t get a lot of outdoor exercise, it might be worth it to consider changing up your typical routine. There are a number of potential outdoor exercise benefits you might not have previously thought of — and many don’t involve major alterations to your normal workout regimen. You might even find that outdoor activity will take your training to a whole other level.
These are just a few of the potential benefits of outdoor exercise that can not only help support your physical health, but maybe your emotional health, too.
Working Out Outside Delivers Potential Perks For The Entire Body And The Mind
There’s something about getting outside on a beautiful day that just makes you feel better. If you combine the beauty of the outdoors with a good workout, you’ll quickly see how special it can be. These are just a few of the potential benefits you may reap from outdoor exercise.
Boost Your Mood While Lowering Stress
Even if you’re a workout warrior, pounding weights in a gym or running on an indoor treadmill simply isn’t the same as exercising outside. Exercising in an outdoor environment can help your mind more than you might have ever considered possible.
Sunshine is actually a way to increase the production of serotonin. This is a hormone that helps boost your mood. Exercises in general can boost the production of so-called “feel good” hormones known as endorphins, which also help to keep your mood bright. As an added benefit, endorphins also help reduce the pain of your workout.1
According to one study, working out for as little as five minutes a day outside may help support positive feelings about yourself. Interestingly, this study suggests that lower-intensity workouts show better results than hardcore training sessions. Bicycling and walking are perfect examples of outdoor activities that can may help support positive self-esteem.2
It Doesn’t Cost Anything
Why spend hundreds of dollars every year on gym memberships when you could just as easily get in a fantastic cardio workout outside? You can get fantastic results simply by jogging along a lightly traveled road, or performing sit-ups, push-ups, or other types of core exercises in a local park.
Unlimited Access – And No Crowds
How many times have you tried to get on a treadmill at your local gym, only to have to wait for an interminably long time for one to finally free up? That won’t be a problem if you commit to outdoor exercise.
Actually, this is one of the most important outdoor exercise benefits. Not only will you avoid the crowds that often pack into gyms, you won’t have to fight traffic or waste time looking for a parking space. There are very likely some parks, streets, and hills close by that will work just as well for running, bicycling, or walking. If you do a little research, you could also find some free programs that offer outdoor workouts, like boot camps, resistance training, or even yoga.
It might even be worth it to look around for outdoor areas specifically designed for exercise. They may have exercise equipment you can use for nothing, such as resistance training equipment.
Getting Out And Enjoying Mother Nature
Another one of the potential biggest outdoor exercise benefits is the experience of getting outside. The fresh air can help lift your mood, and you may feel more of a connection with the outdoor environment around you.
Work and family obligations often mean lots of time spent indoors. But, if you can find some time to mix in some workouts in outdoor spaces, you’ll feel fantastic. It will definitely be worth the effort to try.
When You Get Sunshine, You Get Vitamin D
Outdoor exercises on a sunny day will also help ensure you get your daily dose of vitamin D. This is a very important nutrient, one that helps support healthy bones and a healthy immune system.3
Sun exposure stimulates vitamin D production. This, in turn, helps the bones do a better job of absorbing calcium, which helps keep them healthy. Vitamin D may also help support certain immune cells in your body, helping to promote a healthy immunity.4
You’ll Have More Fun
Have you ever felt drained – both physically and mentally – after spending 30 minutes on an indoor treadmill? There’s a good chance you won’t feel that way after a 30-minute jog on a wonderful day outside.
According to one study, people who hiked for 45 minutes outside felt happier and more energized than another group of participants who worked out on a treadmill indoors. Even though both groups expended the same amount of energy, the hikers felt like their workout was easier.5
You May Be More Likely To Stick With An Outdoor Exercise Routine
It’s easy to become bored with a workout, or to become impatient because you’re not seeing the results you thought you would. If you’ve ever felt that way, there’s a chance that you might be more inclined to stick with an outdoor exercise regimen than one you do in your home or at a gym.
Research shows that outdoor activity reduces the amount of perceived effort that goes into a workout. It may also increase the amount of physical activity performed and enhance a person’s sense of motivation to keep going.6
Training Together With Friends Or Family Members
Look around the next time you go to your local health club for a workout session. More than likely, the vast majority of people are wearing earbuds or looking at their phones while they go through their exercises. They might not be interacting with anyone else at all.
Compare that to outdoor workouts. You can run or walk with other people, and be able to converse easily — something you might not be able to do in a loud indoor exercise facility. An outdoor environment is a perfect way to not only support your health, but possibly to also strengthen your relationships with the people you care about the most.
How To Stay Healthy And Safe When You Exercise Outdoors
Just like working out indoors, you’ll need to take some precautions when getting outdoor exercise. Stay away from busy roads, and bring some rain gear just in case. Also, make sure you bring sunscreen to re-apply after you’ve sweated profusely. If you’re a runner, try to stay on level, smooth ground if possible. The last thing you’ll want to do is risk wrenching a knee because you stepped in a hole or on a large rock.
Hopefully, you’ll reap the potential benefits of exercise for yourself. Exercising outdoors might just wind up being one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.
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