What are the benefits of exercising outdoors?
With many of our gyms currently closed until further notice, we’re forced to get creative with our workout routine. But with so many different trainers taking their expertise online, it’s never been easier to work up a sweat in the comfort of your own home. Sometimes though, sweating it out next to your sofa just doesn’t do the trick, and with Spring already in full swing, you can feel the sunshine calling your name.
From creative garden gym ideas, to utilising outdoor exercise equipment and more, it's actually easier than you think to break a sweat in the great outdoors. We all know the psychological benefits of exercise, and as you all know we are vocal supporters of regular workouts and its slew of benefits, but can the mental benefits of exercise be improved if it’s done as an outdoor workout, compared to an indoor session?
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at our favourite benefits of exercising outdoors:
- An extra dose of Vitamin D
- Powerful stress buster
- It’s free!
- Saves time
- Keeps things interesting
- Time in nature
Outdoor exercise benefit #1 : An extra dose of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a nutrient lacking in the mass majority of us, right here and now. A combination of factors can result in lower than ideal levels, however, the main culprit is lack of sunlight. Here in the UK, we all know that feeling as the summer draws to a close and we begin to mentally prepare ourselves for the cold, dark winter ahead. Vitamin D has a wide array of benefits, such as its ability to regulate the absorption of important nutrients in our bodies that help keep our bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
Outdoor exercise benefit #2: Powerful stress buster
One of the best benefits of exercising outdoors is that according to studies conducted at Roehampton University, we actually experience greater stress reduction from exercise when it’s done outdoors. No surprises here, all types of exercise were found to reduce stress levels, however the highest performers were all outdoor workouts. Now, if this isn’t one of the most impressive mental benefits of exercise, we don’t know what is!
Outdoor exercise benefit #3: It’s free!
Whether you’re going for a run or smashing an outdoor abs workout, being able to do so in the luxury of your own backyard or even the local park means you didn’t dish out a dime to move your body. Sure, a gym membership is an investment into your health, however, for those of us out there who can’t afford a gym membership, doing outdoor exercise is a no-brainer.
Outdoor exercise benefit #4: Saves time
Struggle every morning your alarm goes off to drag your half-asleep body to the gym? Save yourself that precious coffee time and do your workout in nature. With such a huge variety of outdoor workout ideas on the internet, it’s easier than ever to work out from home without having to factor in a gym commute. Get yourself a solid body weight routine and there you have it, no outdoor workout equipment necessary!
Outdoor exercise benefit #5: Keeps things interesting
So maybe you still have your heart set on smashing out your favourite machines, or body weights simply aren’t your thing and you’re not ready to invest in hundreds of kilos worth of dumbbells or outdoor gym equipment to really make a go of the garden gym idea. No worries, outdoor exercise doesn’t have to be an all or nothing event. Even doing it once or twice a week will let you reap those mental benefits of exercise in the fresh air, without having to commit to anything long term. Your body benefits from variety in your workout routine, so why not incorporate an outdoor workout routine to shake things up every now and then?
Outdoor exercise benefit #6: Time in nature
This is a benefit that’s perhaps not for everyone, but in a world where we find ourselves further and further away from nature in our day to day, having a bit of time to reconnect with nature and the great outdoors is really important to us here at MYO. We are urbanites through and through, but we definitely need a bit of green to keep us sane. Exercising in nature doesn’t have to mean a garden workout, or a specific outdoor workout routine. It could simply mean a stroll through the park, taking your dog on a longer walk than usual, something that gets you out there and moving in nature.
In summary, the benefits of exercising outdoors are a dime a dozen and we can all benefit from getting our bodies moving outside in nature more often. Even though today’s current climate can feel like we have been forced into this new way of working out, there is definitely a silver lining. The variety of benefits we can enjoy from simply getting outdoors and moving our bodies is huge, so let’s take this opportunity to try new things, create new habits and push ourselves to new personal bests.