At Live Well Holistic Health we are avid believers in the benefits of exercising outdoors.
Whether it is jogging, cycling, rock climbing, canoeing, or even walking briskly, enjoying your fitness routine in nature creates a much better fitness level than in a confined environment like the gym. Here are what we feel are the four major benefits of exercising outdoors:
Greater Physical Challenges
No matter the weather, being outdoors will challenge the body due to changes in the terrain. If you are running or walking, your stride will be different than when on a treadmill, as the terrain demands varying your movements to conform to uneven ground. This also causes your ankles to flex differently, especially when going downhill, which is not something one usually does in a gym setting. Cycling outdoors along real trails with their rises and falls creates a whole new set of variables for the body, especially when it comes to wind resistance and other elements. Rock climbing or hiking are great ways to challenge the body as we make choices that have to do with variety and levels of difficulty.
As you workout in nature, your level of mental fitness increases, especially if you are engaging in cardiovascular activity. This is known to create new brain cells, which help to increase brain performance, amplifying cognitive ability and sharpening the memory. Exercise in general helps to boost chemicals in the brain that prevent the degeneration of the hippocampus which has to do with learning, and when you exercise outside you are increasing these levels even more.
The release of endorphins that comes from exercising outside also helps to alleviate the symptoms of depression. When you are outdoors, nature will conspire to moderate the brain’s response to stress. As you feel more positive and optimistic, this will also convince you to stay with your outdoor regimen longer, helping you to exercise more often. By engaging with nature as you work out, you will feel a definite decrease in tension and increase in self-esteem and confidence. We feel better emotionally when working out in nature. Exposure to the elements, whether it is the soothing feeling of sunshine or the exhilaration of wind, rain or snow, creates the sensation of elation and inspiration. Looking at natural surroundings as you work your body helps to raise endorphin levels, which release feelings of happiness.
Recent studies have revealed that exercising helps to prevent breast and other types of cancer. By engaging in 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity five days a week in addition to a nutritious and balanced diet, doctors and scientists are now agreeing that the body becomes more resistant to disease in general.
At Live Well Holistic Health we believe that a holistic approach to the body is the key to obtaining and retaining optimum health. For more information on achieving your optimum level of fitness, contact us through our online form or scheduling tool or simply call: 610 896 1554.