Exercising outdoors: Why should we spend time getting active in natural environments?

Whilst the last two years during the covid pandemic has made us accustomed to exercising indoors, exercising outdoors could offer some unique benefits and advantages to our health.  Whether it be a stroll in the park during your lunch breaks or doing a scenic hike in the Blue Mountains, there could be a wide range of benefits in exercising in nature, that encompass physical, cognitive and emotional health.  

Exercising outdoor means there are a wider range of terrains and environmental factors that we need to account for, which could present with different demands on our body and skill requirements. For instance, exercising in the field, whether it is a team sport like soccer or just a walk, could offer variation of tracks and surfaces that would enhance our balance, co-ordination and a wider range of motor skills. This in turn could help train our body more holistically and challenge our body more dynamically. The changes in environmental conditions can also offer variety in your movement options which can make activity feel less mundane.

Moreover, spending time in nature and exposing our body to the sun could help the body absorb vitamin D, and in turn improve bone health.  Furthermore, studies have shown that it could effectively boost our immune system too. Though it is not only the benefits to the physical health, there are benefits to the mental health as well.

Spending more time in nature has been found to have a relaxation effect and help reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms.  A study has even shown that even spending a short period of up to two hours a week outdoors could aide in improving well-being for people with long standing health issues.

Overall, whether you are looking to reduce stress, improve your physical health, or improve your mood and well-being, exercising in nature is the perfect way to achieve those goals.  So next time you are looking to get active, why not head outside and enjoy all the benefits that nature has to offer?

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