5 Benefits of Exercising in Nature
By Dani Taylor
You know that exercise is great for your mental and physical health. But, what if a simple change in location could dramatically boost those benefits?
Turns out, it can!
Outdoor exercise, sometimes called “green exercise,” combines two beneficial activities: moving your body and being outside! And the results are outstanding. Look no further than the great outdoors to improve your mood, save money, and avoid the time and stress of going to the gym.
Here are five benefits of getting your sweat on in the great outdoors.
1. Reduced Depression & Improved Mood
Outdoor exercise is more beneficial to one's mental health than going to the gym. Moving outside has been found to increase mood and lessen anger and despair. Vitamin D production is increased by exposure to sunlight, which could be part of the reason for this mood-boosting impact. To gain the benefits, you don't have to run a marathon or crush an outdoor boot camp. Low-intensity activities such as walking or gardening can suffice. Take a 15-minute stroll break outside for a fast afternoon pick-me-up and return to work feeling energized.
2. Self-esteem increases
According to studies, even five minutes of outdoor exercise can boost self-esteem. This effect can be achieved in any outdoor area, but being near greenery or water accentuates the effect. Surprisingly, low- to moderate-intensity outdoor exercise improves self-esteem more than high-intensity outdoor exercise. Walking, cycling, canoeing, swimming, and gardening have all been demonstrated to boost self-esteem. A frequent dosage of outdoor activity can aid to enhance exercise's already significant esteem-boosting effect.
3. Did we mention it’s free?
One of the most common reasons for not exercising regularly is the cost. For fitness fans and trainers alike, the outdoors offers a low-cost option. Outdoor venues such as low-traffic neighborhood streets and local parks provide free space for physical activity, but costly gym or studio charges can function as a barrier to exercise. Some personal trainers even hold training sessions in public locations!
4. Easy Access
Another typical obstacle to exercising is a lack of time. Getting around traffic, parking garages, and packed changing rooms takes time away from being active. Taking advantage of the beautiful outdoors might help you get more done in less time. Local hills, tracks, and neighborhood streets are excellent places for walking, running, and cycling, while neighboring parks are great for resistance training, boot camps, and yoga sessions. Benches, trees, hilly roads, and even specialized exercise equipment can be found in many outdoor areas, providing for a range of resistance-training exercises.
5. The Mother Nature Connection
One of the most important advantages of outdoor exercise is the ability to interact with Mother Nature as well as the people and places in your neighborhood. Finish your bike ride at a nearby coffee shop, jog the streets and wave hello to your neighbors, or start a weekly walking club with friends and neighbors. Exercising outside can help you feel more grounded, connect with your surroundings, and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you.
Not all outdoor spaces are conducive to physical activity. Before venturing outside, keep in mind traffic, weather conditions, and personal safety. Examine your outdoor environment carefully to choose a location that is both safe and conducive to your workout goals. Sunscreen, a hat, warm clothing, or rain gear may be required depending on the weather.
Get Out and Go!
Don't be put off by the thought of outdoor activity. Start with brief exercise sessions and a lower intensity if you're new to fitness or just getting back into it. It doesn't have to be more than five minutes. Any movement counts, whether it's performing a circuit workout at your neighborhood park, mountain biking through surrounding trails, or taking your children to the bus. All you have to do now is get out and start walking!