Exercise outdoors is great

Exercise outdoors is great

For even greater benefits, try exercising outdoors.

Some recent studies have found people report a higher level of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem, and a lower level of tension, depression and fatigue, after they have walked outside. People who exercise outside also say they are more likely to exercise again than those who stay indoors.

And, people who exercise outside do it more often, and for longer, than those who work out indoors.
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Natural light is known to help lift people’s moods, so heading outside can help you to feel better.

Green exercise

Researchers in Britain have been working on the idea that exercising in nature has added benefits for mental health. They call this ‘green exercise’.

These researchers have found that even five minutes exercising in nature can lift your mood. When you’re feeling down, a walk through the park might be worth a try.

Other research has found that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can concentrate more easily after walking through a park, compared with walking through a residential neighbourhood. Although the study was done only with children, it might be worth trying a walk in the park if you’re having trouble concentrating too.

A surprise benefit of green exercise is that exposing your body to plants can also improve your immune system. Scientists think that airborne chemicals from plants can also protect us against bacteria and viruses.

There are so many benefits to exercising outside. And unlike going to the gym, it’s all free.

Vitamin D

Research shows that vitamin D can help us to fight disease. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because we can get our daily dose just by spending some time in the sunshine.

We are still learning about what vitamin D can do for our bodies, but studies suggest it can protect us from a range of conditions, from osteoporosis and cancer to heart attacks and depression.

The good news is that your body can make all the vitamin D you need if you expose your arms and legs to sunshine for 10 to 15 minutes a few times a week. For extra benefits, why not combine this with getting some exercise?

Less screen time

Being indoors, it is naturally tempting to be more sedentary than if you are outside. You might like to do your exercise in the controlled environment of a gym, but there are always plenty of opportunities to be active outside.

You might like to try to spend more time walking or cycling to work, gardening, cleaning up the yard, or doing other activities that get you moving and away from your computer or television.

Children are particularly at risk of watching excessive amounts of television, playing video games or using tablets. Research has found that children are twice as active when they spend time outside.