Benefits of exercising outdoors

It’s that time of year when we start to have a spring in our step and look forward to summer and if we’re lucky, holidays!  It’s also that that time of year when we cringe at the very thought of stripping down to shorts or even worse swim suits. We start looking for an exercise routine and maybe head outdoors for a quick jog around the block.

It’s definitely the right time to get moving and get in to shape and what better way than to do it outdoors! Here are my top 10 motivators for exercising outdoors:

1. It’s free!

2.  Family can get involved

Families are becoming more overweight and obesity in kids is increasingly a real problem.IMG_2273  Exercising outdoors can be fun and involve the whole family.  Football in the fields, chasing the dog on the beach, etc.  Kids find it hilarious to watch mum or dad blasting out a few jump squats or burpees in the back garden!

3.  Increase in Vitamin D levels

Our bodies make Vitamin D under the skin in reaction to sunlight.  This essential nutrient promotes the absorption of calcium, strengthens our bones and teeth, reduces inflammation and aids the immune system (among other benefits). You do still need sunscreen!

4.  Improve mood

Being outdoors in the sunlight can help to improve mood by increasing serotonin, the ‘feel good chemical’, allowing us to feel physically and mentally alert and capable. It also awakens our senses, for example the sound of the ocean or the birds, the view of the countryside, the smell of the flowers, etc all contribute to improving mood and inner calm.

5.  Fresh Air

Remember when your mother used to tell you to get outside and enjoy the fresh air?! Well clean air is invigorating and allows us to breathe deeper which brings more oxygen to our cells.  More oxygen means a more effective body.

6.  More Effective

There’s often more effort required if you battle with the elements, therefore your body has to work harder, thus producing more effective results

7. Variety

Training outdoors allows you to experience different terrain, natural surroundings, your garden, the back lane, the beach, the hills, trees, water, road, grass………got the idea?!  No more boredom and an opportunity to use lots of different muscles.

8. Event specific

If you have a fitness goal in mind, then training on the terrain you’ll be competing on will be  helpful.  For example, if you’re completing a 10k road race then train on a road not on a treadmill, it really is a different experience (a far less monotonous one in my opinion)

9. Utilise your natural ability

Training outdoors on natural terrain works on your balance, stability and muscle development.  It might feel easier to run on a treadmill but it’s for the wrong reasons.  Treadmills change your natural gait and use less muscles than you would use if running outdoors. Therefore you should utilise your natural ability to use muscles effectively to produce results.

10.Better Sleep

Exposure to outdoor light helps with your circadian rhythms, thus improving the working of your internal master clock.  Your body will be more responsive to sleeping at the correct times.

 

So, there you have it.  10 motivators to help you get active and enjoy exercising outdoors!

Clare