Studies have shown that “green exercise” (getting your exercise outdoors) can boost both your physical and mental health. A dose of the outdoors can improve your mood, mental clarity and reduce stress levels.
Five benefits of exercising outdoors
1. Your vitamin D levels will go up. Studies suggest that vitamin D may help protect us from serious health conditions like osteoporosis, cancer, depression, heart attack and stroke. Many Americans don’t have enough of it, but the good news is, your body can make all the vitamin D you need if you get outside on sunny days for at least 15 minutes.
2. You have many choices. Getting outside gives you endless opportunities to get active. Hiking, biking, gardening, swimming, running – try to incorporate a variety of activities into your outdoor routine.
3. It might make you happier. A little daylight can help elevate your mood. Just five minutes of green exercise (physical activity combined with natural sunlight) is thought to increase serotonin levels in our bodies, which can improve feelings of self-esteem and happiness.
4. Your concentration may improve. Research has shown that regular exercise improves concentration, mental alertness and memory. Taking your exercise outdoors can help you feel more refreshed and ready to tackle your to-do list.
5. You’ll use more muscle groups. Outdoor sports and activities utilize different muscle groups than structured indoor workouts. The uneven terrain requires more movement variations and the activation of stabilizer muscles throughout the ankles, knees, and core.