Why outdoor exercise is good for your body

We all know that any form of exercise is beneficial to your body. It helps to keep your blood pumping, it brings oxygen to your brain and helps to burn fat in a fun and exciting way. You are exposed to natural sunlight and fresh air, as opposed to being cooped up in a gym while you sweat your blues away. 

 

Many medical aid schemes in South Africa encourage any form of exercise, so if you are interested in bettering your body health, read on below for some of the reasons why outdoor exercise is so good for your body.

How about that fresh air?

Exercising outdoors will expose you to fresh air, which is excellent for brain health and for your lungs and cardiovascular system. Fresh air can help you to feel more alert and focused, and this, in turn, will allow your brain to send signals to your muscles quickly and efficiently.

You will also be exposed to fresh sunlight, which in moderation, can be highly beneficial for your skin and brain health. Fresh air and sunlight are some of the best mood boosters, and combining this with exercise will ensure that you feel more alert, happier and more at peace after your workout. Just be sure to bring enough water with you so that you do not become overheated or get sunstroke.

You will burn more calories

That’s right, simply by taking your workout outside you will be burning more calories. This means that you will essentially lose more weight faster and easier. The reasons for this calorie loss include wind resistance that begins to affect all of your movements outdoors, which builds up over a session.

 

The terrain also plays a part in burning calories. Sand, snow, gravel or even a pavement can dramatically impact the way you exercise and help you to burn more calories. Sand means that your movements have to be stronger and sharper so you do not get ‘pulled down’ by it, and gravel allows you to add more bounce to your step because it is a flat surface. Be sure that you wear the right type of shoes for the terrain that you will be exercising on so your ankles are supported.

It’s a natural happiness booster

Spending time outside in nature is a known mood booster, and you do not have to combine it with strenuous exercise. A brisk power walk through a park or forest is just as effective as a jog or sprint on a field.

 

Fresh air, no matter how you get it, can help to make you feel happier, by releasing chemicals in your brain known as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins. Often with indoor exercise, we feel drained once our workout is over but with outdoor exercise, you will feel refreshed and renewed when you have finished working out. You will also feel happier and calmer, as the fresh air and sunlight can help to affect a positive mood.

It offers a new challenge

Outdoor exercises can be challenging, but this is a good thing. You will be challenging and pushing your body to new heights, which can help you to lose more weight and burn more calories.

 

Factors such as wind resistance, changes in terrain and even running downhill can create new and exciting challenges for your workout, without you having to buy new weights or try out new gym equipment. You can use nature as part of your workout, such as carrying heavy rocks with you when you walk up a hill to add to your resistance training or use a tree as part of a wall-sit routine. Challenging your body is highly effective in improving your health.

 

You can exercise for longer

Studies have shown that those who go outdoors for their exercise tend to exercise for longer than those who hit the gym. This could be because you do not have to wait for crowds of people to finish using the equipment, and it could also be because the fresh air and sunlight encourage you to spend a longer time exercising.

 

This means that you get a better workout and can spend more time developing your muscles, burning fat and feeling happier and healthier. Many medical aid schemes in South Africa encourage such healthy behaviour which means that you will also reap these benefits by working out for longer. Being able to exercise for longer outdoors will also have a positive impact on your mental health, as the sunlight and fresh air can help to release more endorphins over an extended period of time.

Final thoughts

Outdoor exercise is beneficial in so many ways, from feeding you fresh air to helping you burn more calories. It can help you to feel happier and calmer and can challenge you in new and exciting ways. Indoor exercise is by no means a bad thing, but if you feel stifled or bored by going to the gym to wait in line for a treadmill, you should seriously consider taking your workout outside so you can enjoy yourself, meet new people and feel good in the sunshine.