Studies show that “green exercise” (getting your exercise outdoors) can boost both your physical and mental health, particularly in older adults. A dose of the outdoors can help improve your self-esteem, mood, and well-being. It may also help reduce stress, depression, and blood pressure. Note: Always talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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 that 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, boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, and even promote bone health. When the weather cooperates, aim for 120 minutes of outdoor exercise a week—that’s a 25-minute walk every workday at lunchtime or a single two-hour hike on the weekend.
4. Your concentration may improve. Research shows that physical activity can improve concentration in people of all ages. 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.