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Well Fit Seattle

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Exercise

Benefits of Exercising Outdoors

Posted: March 31, 2014 | Exercise

 
There are many benefits to taking your workouts outside – both physical and mental.  Most people spend a lot of time indoors during their workweek. Getting outside (and exercising!) is important for many reasons.
 

Exercising outdoors is like taking organic Prozac.
Breathing fresh air as opposed to the recycled kind can create a feeling of euphoria, which comes from the body’s release of feel-good endorphins.  It’s not your muscles that  respond better to it, but your mind.  This in turn makes you want to work harder.
 

Exercising outdoors feels good.
According to a report published in Environmental Science and Technology,  exercising outside creates greater feelings of revitalization, energy, and positive thinking than does exercising indoors. What’s more, after a 30-minute walk in the park, 71 percent of people feel less stressed, while 72 percent of people who take their walks indoors actually feel more stressed.
 

Exercising outdoors allows people to appreciate the natural world.
Jo Barton, PhD, was the lead author of a 2011 study that analyzed the mental health of 53 people who were involved in indoor or outdoor activities for six weeks. “Closeness to nature increases our well-being—it has an immunizing effect by protecting us from future stresses and helping us concentrate and think more clearly,” she says.
 

Exercising outdoors might mean you get more exercise.
Studies show that people who workout outside tend to exercise longer because they are distracted by their surroundings and therefore burn more calories and get more cardiovascular benefits.  The variety of surfaces they encounter, as well as going up and down hills (as opposed to treadmills), force the body to use different muscle groups and develop more responsiveness and agility.
 

Exercising outdoors is worth the effort!
There are times when getting outside can feel almost impossible because of the rain and lack of light, but the investment in a good rain jacket and a headlamp goes a long way to making the experience more pleasant.  I have exercised outdoors almost exclusively for about 3 years now and am happy to say that I am in the best shape of my life.  I have had only one minor cold, and feel happier than ever before! Try it – I bet you will love it – and if you love it, you will stick with it.
 

Topics

Fitness
Exercise
Nutrition

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