Getting outside is essential, especially for us Brits when one in five of us is reported to have low levels of Vitamin D. This deficiency has been conclusively linked to numerous conditions, including breast, bowel, lung and prostate cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and rheumatoid arthritis... So why not take your workout OUTSIDE? Here are my top 5 reasons to workout outside!
1. It’s good for your mind and your body.
We work out mostly for the physical benefits but what about the mental boost? A research team from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry analysed 11 trials including more than 800 adults and found that outdoor exercise was associated with increased energy and revitalisation, as well as decreased confusion, anger, depression and tension when compared with exercising indoors. Outdoor participants also reported enjoying their workouts more and said they were more likely to repeat them than participants who were closed up behind a door.
2. Soak up the sunshine benefits.
While unprotected overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can increase your risk of skin cancer, we shouldn’t overlook the many benefits of sunlight. When the sun hits our skin, it creates vitamin D3, important to bone health and metabolic function. In addition, exposure to sunlight during the day can help you sleep better at night, improve immune function and increase endorphin production— those feel-good hormones circulating throughout your body.
If you’re generally limited to working out in the gym, training outdoors can provide you with more variety in your workout. Whether this means going for a run, doing bodyweight exercises in a park or near a lake or finding a park with a jungle gym, training outdoors will provide you with varied workouts. This can help keep things diverse and provide you with different environments to train in which can help to keep workouts interesting. In fact, this could even mean that you are more likely to adhere to working out as your workout environment and routine isn't repetitive.Take a kettlebell or a dumbbell to the local park with you and you'll be surprised at just how many exercises you can do without stepping a foot in a gym! Plus you'll be topping up your tan whilst doing your kettlebell swings... is there anything better in life? I think not...
4. Stress Reducing.
As you know stress is a huge problem when it comes to our health and wellbeing. Another huge benefit of being outside is the positive impact it has on our stress levels! Mardie Townsend, PhD, an honorary professor at the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University in Australia says:“Being outside reduces levels of stress — which also has huge ramifications for physical health, reduced levels of depression and anxiety, increased resilience, increased engagement with learning, improved self-esteem and increased capacity to engage socially,”
5. You' could burn more calories.
It is easy to get in a fitness rut when your body knows exactly what to expect from your gym machines like the treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike. The varied terrain of a park might be just what your body need to challenge itself to move in varied, more complex ways. Factor in wind (Mother Nature's form of resistance training), temps (the hotter the weather, the harder your body has to work to cool down), and other external variables, you can end up torching 5 to 7 percent more calories just by trading the treadmill for trails.