There are many benefits of going outside, particularly when we’ve been sitting down staring at screens for most of the day. Whether it’s doing outdoor workouts or just going for a stroll in your local park, there are so many benefits to exercising outside and breathing some fresh air. Here are just a few benefits of the great outdoors, and how people of all fitness levels can get involved!
We all know that exercise is good for your body and mind, but most of us do the same workout routine everyday. Well it’s time to mix things up! Instead of the gym, why not try going on a hike using apps like AllTrails to find the best hiking trails near you. Gyms can also be expensive, whereas outdoor gyms in local parks are free, making for a great cost effective way to get fit whilst breathing in all that fresh air!
Other benefits of exercising outdoors include:
Outdoor workouts are where you get a good dose of fresh air. According to the Environment Protection Agency, indoor air can be more polluted than outside, even when you’re in a big city. This means that outdoor exercise is beneficial for your lung health as well as your fitness because fresh air helps clear out your lungs as it contains a higher level of oxygen than indoor air.
Exposing yourself to more oxygen helps the blood vessels in your lungs to dilate which in turn helps them to cleanse and repair themselves. This increase in blood oxygen levels improves the amount of oxygen that’s getting to your brain and therefore increases your energy levels and the ability to concentrate. This means you’re going to get a much more focused and energised outdoor workout!
Furthermore, every cell in your body requires oxygen to function and repair itself. Therefore, being outdoors increases your oxygen levels which helps you heal faster, so you can feel refreshed and rejuvenated after a particularly strenuous workout!
Getting outdoors means soaking up the sun! The main benefit of sunlight is the vitamin D – also known as the sunshine chemical. This is especially important because there aren’t a lot of other ways to get vitamin D into your system other than basking in the sun. Vitamin D is important for bone health and low vitamin D has been linked to rickets in children as well as bone-wasting diseases such as osteoporosis.
The sun can also heal a multitude of skin conditions such as: psoriasis, eczema, acne and jaundice. Light therapy might not be for everyone and it’s important to consult a dermatologist but we can all benefit from a bit more sunlight.
We all feel better when the sun is shining and it turns out there’s a real reason for that! One big benefit of sunlight is that it can really aid your mental health. Exposure to sunlight increases the body’s serotonin levels – serotonin being the brain’s happy chemical. Serotonin is linked to boosting your mood as well as triggering the chemical melatonin which helps you sleep better.
Low serotonin levels, especially in the change from summer to winter is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is where the lack of sun deteriorates our serotonin levels so severely that it leads to a depressive disorder. The prevalence of SAD shows us just how beneficial it is to get in the sun.
However, you must always remember to wear sunscreen when enjoying the sun to protect against harmful UV rays. If you are outside all day make sure to bring some sunscreen with you and re-apply every 2 – 3 hours with a minimum of factor 30 for your body and factor 50 for your face.
Now you know the benefits of exercising outdoors, fresh air and sunlight, it’s time to learn about the types of exercises you can do outside. Here are just a few outdoor activities, suitable for all fitness levels, to give you a little inspiration…
1.Outdoor gym – Checkout your local park to see if they have a free outdoor gym you can use. This is perfect for the whole family and a great way to get kids interested in fitness because you are making it fun! Even when abroad you can keep up exercising by trying some of their local outdoor gyms such as the famous outdoor jungle gym in Tulum.
2. Go for a jog – Jogging is a great full body workout. You can jog around your local area or park if you want a more scenic route. Beginners can start jogging a small distance and then go further day by day. There are apps such as the NHS Couch to 5k which can help you build your strength and fitness incrementally.
3. Outdoor boot camps – Just like you would join a gym class, why not join an outdoor exercise class? Boot camps are a great intense workout for those looking to train outside. This helps you to get away from the four walls of a gym and out in the greenery, whilst being a good way of meeting new like minded people!
4. Swim outdoors – Swimming is a great, fun way to workout the whole body! There are plenty of places to swim outdoors in the UK to mix up your exercise routine in the summer (or winter if you’re feeling brave). Checkout local lidos, outdoor pools and places by the sea where they have outdoor swim clubs so you can exercise safely!
5. Local walking trails – Walking outside is one of the simplest exercises you can do! It doesn’t cost a thing, is a full body workout, and is perfect for all fitness levels because you can go at your own pace. You can add more walking into your daily routine by taking a walk around the park at lunch, or walking to the shops instead of driving, or even checkout some of your local walking trails:
In conclusion, there are a number of benefits of going outside! Outdoor activities can improve both your physical health and mental well-being. To find out more about how to keep your body and mind healthy check out our Healthy Body & Healthy Mind blog. Or for more information on nutrition, read our guide to Making Nutrition Simple to ensure you’re fueling your body with all the right goodness. There’s no better fuel than our TREK products which make the perfect pre or post outdoor workout snack!