Exercise in the Really Great Outdoors
Getting active outdoors is an invigorating way to get your blood pumping. Whether it’s a hike, a run or even a walk, exercising outdoors combines the benefits of physical activity with the goodness of fresh air, natural light and nature!
Many of us know the natural mood boost that exercise can bring. This feeling of wellbeing is the effect of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that are produced in your brain during exercise.
Taking your workout outdoors can make exercise more enjoyable, giving you that extra boost of motivation. There has been plenty of research in this area and a number of psychological, physiological and economic benefits to exercising outdoors are regularly shown.
Although exercise in general enhances self-esteem, research shows that outdoor exercise can have a greater impact than indoor exercise. The psychological benefits of outdoor exercise can be even further enhanced if exercising near the water or in green spaces.
Research in older adults finds that they are more likely to do more physical activity outdoors than indoors, because the environment is more stimulating and leads to more enjoyment.
You Activate More Muscles When Training Outside
When you use machines at the gym you isolate the working muscles and run the risk of switching off your postural muscles. So while you’re training your chest, the rest of the muscles your legs, trunk and upper back, are neglected.
When you do bodyweight or free weight exercises outdoors, you use your whole body as a unit, and your postural muscles have to work hard to support the body. This helps your body develop the strength to support itself, leading to a more balanced musculoskeletal system and less risk of joint and muscle problems due to imbalances.
You Don’t Need A Membership!
One of the great benefits of outdoor exercise is that you don’t have to use anything other than your own body and gravity to load the muscles and improve strength and fitness.
Simple bodyweight exercises such as squats, push-ups and also sit-ups can provide an excellent workout for most people. To increase intensity and difficulty, you can even try jumping squats and clapping push-ups.
There’s Plenty Of Variety
The variety and stimulation that comes from exercising in different locations at different times of the day, with different temperatures, can help to keep exercise fun and interesting.
Anywhere you have room to move can present opportunities for exercise. The beach, a grandstand, a staircase or a sports ground can all be used to add extra intensity or variety to an outdoor exercise program.
So if you need an excuse to exercise, just look out your window and get too it, rain hail or shine!