With so many of us cooped up inside gyms or home workout spaces, it's easy to forget that some of the best exercises can be done in the great outdoors. The simple act of incorporating nature into your fitness regimen can have profound benefits, both physically and mentally. Here's why and how you should consider swapping the treadmill for the trail.
Physical benefits of outdoor exercise
Firstly, let's delve into the physical benefits of getting out and about for your workouts. Here's a break down:
- Variety of workouts: Nature provides a natural playground for a variety of exercises like running, hiking, biking, or even water sports like paddle boarding and swimming.
- More challenging: Exercising outdoors often means dealing with elements like wind resistance and uneven terrain, making your body work harder than it would on a treadmill or stationary bike.
- Increased vitamin D: Exposing your skin to sunlight during your workout helps your body produce vitamin D, essential for bone health.
Mental health benefits of outdoor exercise
Swapping the gym for greenery brings mental health benefits too:
- Stress relief: Research has shown that people who exercise in natural environments report greater feelings of revitalization and decreased levels of tension, anger, and depression.
- Improved focus: Studies have found that children with ADHD seem to focus better after being outdoors. It might be a stretch to say the same for adults, but if you're having a hard time concentrating, the remedy could be a good dose of fresh air.
- Boosted mood: Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.
Ways to incorporate nature into your fitness regimen
Wondering how to take your workout outdoors? Here are a few ideas:
- Running or walking in a local park: This is a simple, accessible way to start. Plus, most parks have trails with various difficulty levels for a more challenging workout.
- Join an outdoor fitness class: From yoga in the park to boot camp on the beach, there are plenty of outdoor fitness classes available. It's a great way to meet new people and get fit in a fun environment.
- Try a new outdoor sport: Consider trying something new like rock climbing, paddleboarding or kayaking. They're fun, challenging and offer a great workout.
So, as you plan your next fitness regimen, consider taking it outside. The benefits of incorporating nature into your fitness are abundant, and the change of scenery is sure to make your workouts more enjoyable.