Have you ever heard that nature is the best medicine? People who spend two hours more in nature per week report better health and satisfaction. Exercise is another natural medicine that reduces the risk of several ailments and improves your health.
So why not combine the two for maximum health benefits? In this guide, we cover seven benefits of exercising in the great outdoors.
1. Outdoor Exercise Challenges Your Body
When you’re in the great outdoors, the natural environment has more variety than you’ll find in a gym. You’ll encounter different terrains, inclines, temperatures, and ever-changing obstacles.
This variety forces your body to adapt to changes and work harder to push through them. Every day might be different, even if you take the same route. Regular changes prevent your body from acclimating to your workout routine and lead to more consistent results.
2. It Reduces Stress
Exercising is already known to reduce stress, but taking things outside can have an even more positive effect on your stress levels. Spending time outdoors reduces stress levels by lowering your cortisol.
Cortisol is a naturally occurring steroid hormone that affects the body’s stress response. Even as little as 20 minutes outside is enough to reduce your cortisol levels. Lowering your stress improves blood pressure, immunity, sleep, mood, and health as a whole.
3. Working Out Outside Doesn’t Cost A Dime
One of the best perks of exercising outdoors is that it’s free. You can work out in your neighborhood, at a local park, hiking trails, a nearby track, or your backyard.
You don’t have to pay monthly fees to join a gym or buy expensive workout equipment unless you want to incorporate it into your outdoor workouts. Bodyweight workouts are just as effective for strength, endurance, and cardiovascular health.
4. Nature And Exercise Are Natural Antidepressants
Spending time in nature has been shown to have a positive effect on mood and anxiety. Being out in the sunlight and getting more natural vitamin D intake also plays a role in improving your mood.
In addition, exercise releases endorphins, which are otherwise known as the “feel good” chemicals. Regular exercise even increases your serotonin levels to boost mood, improve sleep, and create a sense of wellbeing.
5. You’ll Forget You’re Working Out
When you’re exercising with a beautiful nature background, it’s easy to become lost in your surroundings. Distractions keep your mind off the strenuous activity to help you go the distance.
This distraction also helps burn calories because you aren’t focusing on the distance, sore muscles, or amount of time you’ve been going. It’s also a great way to get lost in the moment and give your mind a break from the stresses of daily life.
6. There Are Plenty Of Exercise Options
Exercising outdoors doesn’t have to be limiting. There are plenty of options to keep things both exciting and challenging. With these outdoor exercise options, you’ll be able to shake up your routine.
Walking Or Running
Going for a walk or a jog is one of the most simple outdoor exercises you can do. You can lose the treadmill and hit the pavement as soon as you’re out the front door. Enjoy a walk in the neighborhood or hit a local trail to keep your routine interesting.
If you own a bike, why not take it for a spin? Bike riding is a low-impact activity, yet challenging on different surfaces and inclines.
Take walking and spending time in nature to the next level by going on a hike. Most state parks offer trails at a variety of difficulty levels. You can start as a beginner and work your way up to more challenging trails.
If you’re more motivated by group activities, check for local programs that offer outdoor classes. You may be able to find Zumba, yoga, cardio, and boot camp classes.
An added perk to classes is the help of a professional trainer. Trainers ensure you’re exercising with the proper form, push you, and keep you motivated.
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Take your bodyweight routines outside for a fitness regiment you can perform in your driveway, garage, or even back yard.
In the summer, exercising outside in the heat may seem like more of a hassle. Swimming is a great option to cool off and burn calories. Swimming is a low-impact option that works the entire body.
Plenty of sports such as soccer, football, kickball, and softball take place outdoors. If you thrive in a competitive environment with a team, consider signing up for a local adult league.
7. You Can Enjoy It With Other People
Taking your fitness outside can be an excellent way to involve friends and family. Ask them to join you for walks, runs, hikes, classes, and sports teams. Doing these activities with someone else makes time go faster, makes them more enjoyable, and increases motivation.
If you enjoy spending time with your loved ones but want to focus on health, this is a great option. Having them join you allows you to focus on both without feeling strapped for time in your busy schedule.
Head to the Great Outdoors For Your Next Sweat Session
If you’re looking for added health benefits and a boost in your mood, look no further than the great outdoors. There are an array of options to break a sweat outside that will make you forget you’re even exercising at all.
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