Now the weather’s warmer and the days are longer, take your exercise outdoors and reap the many benefits from working out al fresco:
1 It lifts your mood: a review of ten studies by the University of Essex showed that it takes just 5 minutes to get this boost in mood. This could be low or high intensity exercise and included cycling, walking, horse riding and gardening. It particularly improved mental health in the young and those with existing mental illness.
2 It boosts your bone health: whilst it’s important to protect the skin from UV rays, some exposure to sunlight is really important for increasing our vitamin D levels, which helps our body absorb calcium. This helps with many aspects of the body’s well-being including bone health, decreasing the likelihood of osteoporosis. It can also help reduce muscle and bone pain, and the risk of certain cancers.
3 It helps you stick to your exercise program: a Canadian study found that post menopausal women were more likely to attend a workout class delivered outdoors that the same routine indoors. The attendance rates across the 12 weeks was an impressive 97% in the outdoor class.
4 It’s free! Our parks, forests, beaches and mountains are all free to use, so outdoor fitness is a great choice if you are low on budget. It also saves you money each time you trade the car or public transport for walking or cycling.
5 It increases your energy levels: a review by a US medical college found that being active in natural environments increased energy and decreased tension, confusion, anger and depression. In fact, a series of studies by Ryan et al (2010) found that 90% of people experienced increased feelings of energy from being active outdoors.
So why not treat your body and mind and get outdoors today!