Benefits of Fitness in the Great Outdoors

by Alison McIrvin
Benefits of Fitness in the Great Outdoors

“Get out and play, it’s good for you!!” Mom always told us to get outside and get some fresh air, right? Most of us in this boomer generation and older Have our parents to thank for instilling in us the value of the outdoors. We all know how much better we feel having gone on a hard hike or even a casual stroll by the river.

There is just something that confirms for us how much better we feel for having breathed fresh air, looked up at the sky and felt the sun on our faces.

Well exercise physiologists will not only agree with you, but there is good science out there to back all the great benefits of fitness and working out in the outdoors.

  • Fresh air! Recycled and air conditioned air in a sweaty gym is like breathing…well…recycled sweaty air.
  • Vitamin D and sunshine! Exposure to sunlight is the best form of Vitamin D that results in stronger bones, a robust immune system, and healthy release of endorphins to help your mood. Mental health professionals recommend time outdoors every day for depressed patients so they will have increased energy levels, and feel more satisfied with life.
  • You are more likely to stick with an exercise program outdoors than one in a gym. If you enjoy it more and have a greater sense of peace and well-being, you will keep at it down the road … pardon the pun…
  • You are more likely to workout longer. Studies indicate that individuals who work out outdoors tend to work harder and work longer
  • It’s more demanding on our muscles and body. No treadmill, elliptical, stair climber or ANY machine can stimulate your muscles and core like doing the real thing outside. Running (and cycling, and hiking…) are more demanding on your body as you hit more varied terrain. Your core gets worked better as you are constantly adjusting to bumps and holes, uneven inclines, etc.
  • Better mental stimulation. We all know how going to the gym day after day puts us on auto-pilot and you can do your workout in your sleep. Taking it to the outdoors requires more thought, greater and newer mental stimulation as we experience new sensations, views, and changing weather, even. All of this stimulates your brain unlike a workout in a gym does and results in a greater sense of well-being
  • Connecting with nature. Even just a walk in the neighborhood lets you smell grass, trees, and dirt. There is something in all of us that knows that we need that connection to nature to heal, restore, and sooth us. City planners know this well, hence the reason the most popular cities in the world plan and spend money on parks.

So get your shoes on and get on out there, no excuses and you will feel the benefits immediately! Let us know some of the ways that you sneak in extra time outdoors.

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