Regular exercise and taking part in activities is one of the best ways to keep your mental and physical health in top shape, but you don’t need to limit your sports sessions to the gym. Taking your routine into the great outdoors can provide a much-needed change of scenery, and it can bring even more health benefits to the table. From giving you more energy to introducing some new sports into your life, here are some key reasons to start exercising outside.
1. Good for Your Mental Health
With the mental health epidemic rising, 1 in 5 US adults will face a serious mental health condition during their lifetime. While exercise of any kind can boost your endorphins, stepping outside has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and even depression by medical professionals. This is primarily due to the presence of Vitamin D in sunny weather, which has been linked to boosting happiness levels. However, there is some scientific backing to Ecotherapy and the idea that the great outdoors can induce feelings of calm and serenity. The greener the setting, the better, so why not head to your nearest park for a run?
2. Increased Energy Levels
When you exercise, your body takes in oxygen to be transported around the body. This leaves many people feeling energized and refreshed after a lengthy session. Though you can get plenty of oxygen when indoors, there is more for your body to take in when you participate in a vigorous activity outside. City parks are a good start, and you could try visiting a greener part of your local area to breathe in the fresher air.
3. Better Sleep Routine
Exercise alone has been linked to improving sleep for many people, but it is the mental health benefits of exercising outdoors which can result in a better night’s sleep. This is because being outdoors reduces stress levels. As one of the most popular reasons why people aren’t getting enough sleep each night, 43% of people have reported lying awake at least once a month with stress. The calmer you are, the more likely you are to drift off into an uninterrupted sleep, helping you to reach your recommended 7-9 nightly hours of sleep.
4. Gives Your Skin a Boost
Vitamin D isn’t just great for your mental health, but your skin. When combined with the extra oxygen racing around your bloodstream, you can expect to see a clearer complexion as time goes on. When you get the right amount of exposure to this vitamin, you may find that eczema, signs of aging, and acne are also reduced. Just make sure to apply sunscreen every few hours if you are planning to be out in strong sunshine for most of the day, even in colder weather. If you don’t, you could see that your outdoor sports sessions are causing more harm than good.
5. New Activities to Try
There are only so many exercises you can enjoy indoors before you begin to crave something new. With more space and varied terrain to explore, the great outdoors offers a range of activities to try, like hiking, soccer, and golf. Make sure you have the right equipment from PXG to help you get the most out of your new passion. This way, you’re likely to immerse yourself fully in each session. If you are having more fun, then you may see this as a new incentive to start exercising more, which can only be a good thing for your health.
6. Burns More Calories
It is not just the longer workouts that enable your body to burn through more calories; on windier days, the resistance your body encounters during exercises like running can result in you burning even more. This is because your body must work harder to maintain the same speed. Put simply; more work means more calories burned. This is great news for people who are hoping to up their exercise regime to lose weight, as you may find that you are burning more calories without realizing.
7. Exercise Becomes Social
Many people thrive when exercising alone, but others may find it better to exercise in a group. While many inside gym sessions promote individual classes, you’ll find that most outdoor sports have a social element to them. This is mostly due to many outdoor sports being team-based. This social element not only boosts engagement in a class, but it can contribute to the mood-improving factors of outdoor exercise. Among the most sociable sports are group hiking, golf, and basketball. Try one with a friend first to see how it goes.