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Why It’s Good for You to Exercise Outdoors

Good for your body and your soul—for exercise, there may be nothing like the great outdoors.

 Mom and baby exercising outdoors, benefits

Is the gym your usual go-to-place for exercise? You may benefit from a change of scenery, and one with lots of it: the great outdoors. If you need a nudge to move your exercise outside, there's plenty of incentive.

Research suggests that outdoor exercise delivers health benefits that can't be duplicated indoors. And a key one is a bigger boost in positive emotions.

One study, for example, found that outdoor workouts can lift your mood more and help you feel more energetic and revitalized than indoor ones. Another found that as few as five minutes of outdoor exercise can improve self-esteem, especially if you're near greenery or water.

Moving your workouts outdoors also helps you:

Connect with nature

Nature is one of the best perks of outdoor exercise. Think of it this way: Where are you likely to enjoy exercise more, on a treadmill in a crowded gym or on hiking trail in a nearby park?

Related: Is Working Out in the Cold Good for You?

Save money

You don't need a gym membership. The outdoors belongs to all of us.

Potentially burn more calories

When you're jogging or biking outdoors, a strong headwind can help you burn more calories. You have to work harder to overcome the wind's resistance.

Get out and enjoy!

So rather than staying cooped up inside, take a brisk walk either alone to clear your mind or with a buddy to socialize. Work out your muscles on a local hill, bike on a neighborhood street, or walk one lap and jog the next at a nearby school track.

Or treat yourself to a walk in the woods, in a meadow or along a stream at a park. See if a park close by offers an exercise boot camp or a yoga class or has exercise equipment. Many parks do now.

Related: 5 Reasons to Have an Exercise Buddy

You can turn exercise into family time too. Play on a playground with your child (or grandchild) or take a nature hike together. After all, everybody deserves to have fun outdoors.

While you’re here, check out our other articles on healthy living. For more information on our medical and dental plans, visit selecthealth.org/plans.

 

Reference: American Council on Exercise

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