As humans, we have an innate affiliation with nature and the outdoors that stems from our hunter gatherer ancestors existing in the natural environment for thousands of years. So it's really no surprise that we still get a myriad of health benefits from being outdoors today!
What's even better, is that the benefits you get from just being outside, have a much greater impact on your health when exercise is added in to the equation.
Exercising out in nature has a range of positive effects on mental health. It has been proven to reduce stress, tension, anger and depression, increase endorphins (aka your 'happy hormones'), increase self esteem and increase brain function!
Being outdoors can improve your motivation to exercise, as it takes the focus off 'exercising' and shifts it to spending time out in pleasant surroundings, such as a walk in the park, the beach or the lake. It also provides you with distractions while you're exercising, which can make the exercise itself feel much easier to do.
Many studies have shown that exercising outdoors allows people to work at a higher intensity without perceiving it as being harder. The constantly changing environment also helps to increase the workload compared to a flat surface indoors. This increased workload compared to indoor exercise leads to much greater health benefits such as improved heart health, blood sugar control, an overall improvement in fitness levels and reduction in the risk of developing chronic disease.
Being outdoors in nature gives you a range of physical health benefits that you just can't get if you stay indoors. It has been shown that being surrounded by greenery can lower resting heart rate and blood pressure, which has a big effect in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Being in the sunshine also increases Vitamin D production in the body. This is especially important for bone health as we get older, reducing the risk of bone breaks and disease such as osteoporosis.
The best part of outdoor exercise it's free! There's no need for gym memberships or fees to exercise. It's also extremely easy to access, as it's right outside your front door!
Now that we've hit this beautiful spring weather, why not take your exercise outside and achieve these 5 benefits gained from exercising outdoors.
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