Should You Exercise Outdoors? You Bet!
Have you spent most of the winter avoiding exercise because you just can’t bear to head to the gym or complete another walk on the treadmill? Have shorter, colder and darker days made you become more of a couch potato than you’d like to be? Or that you know you should be?
If so, now is the perfect time to get outside and get moving! The extra daylight available thanks to the changing seasons and the arrival of daylight savings time may be just the boost you need to get more active again.
Aside from the obvious benefits of increasing your physical activity, there are other benefits of taking your workout outdoors. Here are two of them:
You’ll enjoy it more. Outdoor exercise has been linked to feelings of increased energy and decreased anger, tension and depression, according to research. Not only will exercising outside be good for your body but it will be good for your mood, too.
You’ll do it more. If you take your workout into nature, you’re more likely to exercise longer than if you stayed indoors. One study found outdoor exercisers did about 30 more minutes of physical activity each week than those who stuck to indoor activity.
Now that the sun is still shining when you get home from work, here are five things you can do to improve your physical and mental health while you enjoy some fresh air:
- Grab a mat. If yoga or Pilates is your thing, find a quiet spot and get in a workout while enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.
- Take a hike. Grab a partner and head off the beaten path for some physical activity that’s good for your body and your soul.
- Get on two wheels. Biking is a low-impact exercise that gets your heart pumping. The feeling of the wind rushing through your hair at the end of a long day is an added bonus.
- Go to the park. Run on the grass, throw a Frisbee or play a game of touch football with your family or friends.
- Walk the dog. Lace up your shoes and go for a spin around the neighborhood or head a local dog park.
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Date Last Reviewed: January 16, 2019
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Andrew P. Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS