Some studies have shown that we spend a staggering 90% of our time indoors and that’s without considering the current lockdown! Even more worryingly, some surveys have found that three-quarters of UK children spend less time outdoors than prisoners. Our bodies are not designed for this so, without a doubt, looking after your fitness should be a priority.
As well as the obvious physical benefits, exercise can improve your mood – and so can the environment you chose to train in. Here are four reasons to exercise outdoors.
1. Mentally Revitalised
It is well-documented that the type of environment we train in affects our mood. A study by Thompson (2011) found that participants had decreased feelings of tension, anger and depression as well as increased energy when training in an outdoor environment. Breathing in the fresh air and absorbing the surroundings can have a considerable impact on your mood and self-esteem. This can, in turn, help reduce your stress levels and lower blood pressure.
2. More Vitamin D
The sunlight is another mood enhancer which helps us to produce Vitamin D. This vitamin is essential for healthy bones and muscles as well as keeping your immune system strong. Feeling fatigued and lethargic can be a sign of Vitamin D deficiency so getting outdoors can help increase your exposure to sunlight.
3. More Stimulating
Training in a gym can get boring and tedious so if you find yourself stuck in a rut, why not take your training outdoors? Exercising in a natural environment can add different challenges and will encourage you to be creative. You can try adding hill sprints or using a park bench to do press-ups, dips or step-ups. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a handstand up against a tree. Using your surroundings is a super-fun way to help you with your routine.
4. Burn More Calories
Have you ever noticed how running outdoors is much more complicated than running on a treadmill? The type of terrain, gradient and weather can all add to the level of difficulty, which means you have to work harder to counter against the conditions. All of this has the added benefit of developing your coordination, balance and overall strength. Plus, you’ll have more time to train as you won’t be travelling back and forth to use the gym.
Article reproduced with the kind permission of motiv8.me online magazine.
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