The physical and mental benefits of exercise are immense, but did you know that you can leverage these benefits more by exercising outside rather than indoors? What if I told you it’s super possible to burn those extra calories while still having a lot of fun?
Increasing the physical exercises you perform per day could be all you need you need to reduce risk for diseases like cardiovascular and diabetes - Regardless of your size or shape, studies have shown that consistent physical activity will truly add years to your life.
For most people, working out usually means driving to an indoor gym and exercising in a temperature-controlled environment. Indoor exercise could be a blessing during the cold Fall and Winter months, but as Summer rolls around it’s important to take time to get outside and have some fun, too!
Well, experts unanimously agree that outdoor activities exponentially boost your mental health, which makes your physical exercise even more fruitful. In this time of quarantine and isolation (I live in Brazil and we are still currently under some restrictions), I usually listen to a 30-40min podcast while walking around my neighborhood. I usually do some bodyweight home exercises for 20-30min as well and that is more than enough to get me back on track and energized for the second half of my workday at home. Whether it’s a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood or a functional band workout in your yard, any kind of outdoor exercise brings along many great benefits that you just can’t get inside. Here are a few of my favorite healthy benefits of outdoor activities:
1. Vitamin D
Your bones and blood cells need a lot of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D for them to be healthy. Working out under the sunlight helps your body to absorb these minerals seamlessly. Studies show that people with optimal vitamin D concentrations are less likely to experience the common cold and other respiratory tract infections than those with low vitamin D too. Also, getting 5-15 minutes of sun at least once in every two days gives your body all the Vitamin D it needs.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Not enough vitamin D (a vitamin D deficiency) can cause pain, hormone problems, muscle weakness, and more. Good Sources of Vitamin D are: Sunlight, Mushrooms, Egg yolk. In essence, there’s no better way to get Vitamin D than exercising outside while you soak up the sun!
2. Mental Well-being
Cultivating and growing your overall wellness builds resilience, reduces the risk of illness, and ensures positive interactions on a daily basis. Your well-being not only affects your life, it also influences others you are closely connected to. Your mental wellbeing greatly improves when you exercise outdoors. One of the reasons for this is the awareness that your mind has throughout the exercise, particularly in regard to the changing terrain and weather.
Finding time for outdoor exercise, even if it is as little as 15 minutes at least 2-3 times per week, will make you feel energized and less stressed; it will boost your capacity to do more and achieve more. I guarantee you. Here are some quick 12-15min home workouts that require zero equipment and will help you a lot! Cortisol – The hormone that indicates the level of stress in humans- reduces greatly when you spend time in the forest, say, watching birds and taking part in low-intensity outdoor activities.
4. Brain Power
Research shows that outdoor exercise can be the most scientifically proven enhancer of your brain; it can have a transformational effect to every facet of your life. Exercising outdoors is the most innovative and effective way of getting the best from your brain. I usually take a break right in the middle of my work day to go and exercise for an hour or so, and get re-energized and give my brain a little break before it starts running and producing content and being productive again.
5. Helps with Anxiety
You can attest to this fact even if you aren’t used to going out much- As I have, you definitely must have experienced the calmness of Mother Nature even if it is through a house plant or pictures of nature. Many offices nowadays have nature wall arts hanging on office walls as a way of calming down angry, stressed, and anxious employees. If that works, then you can imagine the significance of being in the presence of that waterfall or mountain you see in office wall art.
6. Immunity Boost
Your immune system is a complicated network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect your body on a daily basis from all infections and viruses. As I have mentioned above, morning sunlight boosts your Vitamin D levels. The more the Vitamin D your body gets, the stronger its immune system becomes.
On top of that, being within outdoor plants helps you leverage the health benefits of the phytoncides and other organic compounds that plants produce. These compounds boost immune function in humans. By exercising outside and increasing your exposure to Vitamin D – especially if you live in a climate with cold Fall and Winter months – you’ll help support a key part of your immune system.
Although everyone’s ideal workout space is a little bit different, it’s important to challenge yourself and try something new! We should always remember that vitamin and minerals — particularly A, C, D and E, as well as zinc and calcium — play an important role in keeping the immune system strong and staying healthy. It's always important to remember that the supplement industry isn't regulated, so the onus is on you as the consumer to choose a reputable product that's backed by science.
Our body also needs fluids and electrolytes to function at its best. That’s especially true when you’re suffering symptoms like fever, coughing, diarrhea and vomiting, which can easily dehydrate you. Proper rehydration helps with recovery. Drinks with essential electrolytes such as Hydra-Guard Sports Drink have been recommended by the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics for decades to relieve symptoms associated with virus-related mild to moderate dehydration in both adults and kids. Hydra-Guard Sports Drink is a great way of replenishing your essential electrolytes after a workout but keeping the calorie count low and consuming only 5g of natural sugars per bottle.