If you find exercising at your local gym or in your living room to be boring, you may want to try out green exercise.
Green exercise is when you take your workouts outside surrounded by nature.
Not only can this provide a different surrounding and help break up your exercise routine, it has a tremendous amount of physical and mental health benefits and it’s fun too!
This article will focus on the physical and mental benefits of exercising outdoors.
The Physical Health Benefits of Exercising Outdoors
It’s important to maintain a regular exercise routine, but those who exercise with structure will eventually find their gym workout becoming old and boring.
When a person breaks free from their structured routine, they will find exercising outdoors even with low-intensity such as walking will come with a much needed benefit.
What is this benefit? It’s better recovery from their otherwise structured workouts.
You don’t have to practice green exercise every day of the week. Try it out once or twice a week to see some amazing changes.
By doing this, the sunlight and fresh air you leave you feeling refreshed.
In addition, did you know a lot of outdoor sports and activities require you to use a more wide variety of muscle groups than their indoor counterparts, like walking on a treadmill?
Outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain biking require more coordination and muscle adaption to keep up with their higher difficulty level.
It’s not that indoor walking or stationary biking isn’t good, but it’s important to use variety in your workout programs.
The Mental Health Benefits of Exercising Outdoors
Keeping your stress level in check is important for keeping your blood pressure in normal range.
Although, reducing your stress level is harder than it seems most of the time.
However, you can reduce your stress and improve your mindset by doing green exercise.
By exercising outdoors a person can see a positive change in their tension, anger, and confusion levels.
By providing clarity and happiness, stress related hormones cortisol and adrenaline decreases.
In addition, people will often see improved cognitive function which is linked to higher serotonin levels.
Finally, by exercising outdoors you will greatly improve your personal commitment to exercising on a routine basis.
Why? Well, earths natural landscape will provide stunning visual views. Much more so then the ones you can get at the gym or in your living room thus keeping you engaged.
Other Amazing Benefits
It’s safe to say that practicing your workouts once in a while outdoors has some brilliant benefits.
By exercising outdoors underneath the warm sun, you will improve your vitamin D levels.
By getting outside more, you are decreasing your chances of being deficient in vitamin D which has been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, and some cancers.
So get out there, reconnect with nature, and try a new and challenging outdoor activity.
Once completed, it will most likely leave you wanting more!
How to Get Started Exercising Outdoors
When starting to take your workouts outdoors, there are a few important pieces of information you should follow.
First of all, if you have any health conditions you should discuss with your doctor first if exercising outdoors is right for you.
It’s important to visit your doctor if you want to increase the intensity level of your workouts or if you have been inactive for awhile.
- Wake Up Early – Your energy and level of alertness is higher, so get up early and workout outdoors. This way, you won’t be able to find an excuse for not exercising. People are more prone to finding excuses at the end of day because they are tired from work or school.
- Avoid Exercising in Extreme Temperatures – Even though it may sound like an interesting challenge to exercise freezing or hot weather, don’t do it. If you are exercising in warmer temperatures, make sure you aware of the warning signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion. Some warning signs of dehydration in an adult include being extremely thirsty, not urinating very often, dark colored urine, confusion, dizziness, and fatigue. Warning signs of heat exhaustion include
- Drink Enough Water – To follow up on dehydration listed above is the importance of drinking enough water. It’s important to drink enough water because you can lose water through sweating. In addition, a person can start to get dehydrated even more they start to feel thirsty. Let’s say you want to workout for a half hour, if you drink 8-10 ounces of water 30 minutes before your workout, that should be enough to keep you hydrated through your entire workout. You should more if you plan on working for longer amount of time or if the temperature is warm outside.
- Don’t Get Sunburned – While exercising outdoors underneath the sun can make you feel wonderful, it’s important to keep yourself protected. Purchase a good sunscreen, wear a hat with a brim, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. If you do find yourself with a sunburn taking frequent cool baths or showers can help relieve the pain. It’s also important to use a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or soy. Do not treat sunburns with any products that contain “-caine” like Benzocaine. This is because these can further irritate the skin or can cause allergic reactions.
- Get Some Good Gear – Purchasing good quality clothing and equipment can make or break your workout. If you can afford it spending some extra money on clothing that waterproof and breathable.
Unique Ideas for Your Next Workout
We all have heard of the common themes surrounding working out outdoors like running, walking, biking, but there are some other ones that may be interested in trying out.
- Stand Up Paddle-boarding – Sure it looks easy, but stand up paddle boarding is from that. Participating in stand up paddle boarding is a great way to tone your entire body. Sure your only using a paddle to navigate your way across calm waters, but this activity uses your entire body to do simple moves. It especially focuses on using core stability and control to make this look effortless.
- Fitness Scavenger Hunt – Scavenger hunts aren’t only for kids, adults can do them too and get a good workout in. This also mixes up your fitness routine and adds some fun! To do this activity, first map out your route. This could be a path you typically take for jogging or walking. Next, you would need to list five-to-ten body-weight exercises like push-ups, squats,etc. On your list write down a landmark you are certain you will see along your path like a park bench, a swing, a fountain, a tree, etc next to each body-weight move. Finally, once you have your list completed you need to start out on your route and every time you see one of your landmarks you would do 10 reps of the corresponding move. For example, let’s say you wrote down park bench and squats. When you see a park bench you head over to it and do 10 reps of squats. It’s not just for the park bench you saw first, but for all the park benches you see along your route. What a great way to work up a sweat!
- Rowing Classes – You don’t need those machine workouts anymore at your local gym. Rowing works out your arms, core, and legs. A single hour long rowing class can burn up to 800 calories, crazy right? This is a low-impact way of getting your heart going. You may or may not feel the burn during the session, but after you certainly will!
- Rock Climbing – You can do rock climbing indoors, but for added challenges and fresh air take it outdoors. Very few outdoor activities come close to the full-body workout rock climbing can provide. Since the group of muscles needed to climb up rocks changes often, the number of muscles you’re using is very high. In addition to this, it is a very cardio workout. By participating in rock climbing you can boost your brains ability to memorize things, greatly improve coordination, and can decrease your chances of depression.
- Volunteering – It’s possible to get a workout in and help out your community at the same time. For example, you can volunteer to clean up a local school or park. You can also choose to volunteer at your local humane society and walk some dogs that would certainly appreciate it.
As you can see from this article, there are a wide variety of options out there for you to choose from when it comes to your next outdoor workout.
There an ample amount of health, physical, and mental benefits that corresponds to green exercise.
Do you want to know one of the most popular forms of green exercise?
It’s one you might even participate in and not even know it. Gardening.
Exercising in the natural environments of this earth, even short ones like walking across your college campus, can improve your mood and energy level.
So the next time you workout outdoors just know you are contributing to a vast world that links nature with improved health and a sense of well-being.