Getting any type of exercise is good for your body, but did you know there are specific benefits to taking your workout outside? Not only is it a great way to boost your activity in the spring, it’ll also help boost your mood.
Here are a few of the main benefits to getting exercise in a natural environment:
- You can move faster. When you’re walking or running outside, you can better control your pace. Often, you end up moving a little faster than you would indoors on a treadmill.1
- It’s easier. When the effort of exercise participants was studied comparing indoor to outdoor walking, participants not only moved faster, they reported the exercise also felt easier to complete.1
- It’ll alter your perception. Since your perception of effort is lower when you’re in a green environment, it gives you the opportunity to push harder without your perception changing. When an activity is perceived as easier, it’s also perceived to be more enjoyable.1
- You’ll increase your enjoyment. When you’re exercising outside you’re often engaging with other people. This has been shown to increase enjoyment of the activity and how often you participate, since you have social motivation behind you.1
- You’ll feel revitalized. Studies have shown that doing physical activities in a natural or green environment can help improve feelings of revitalization. You also feel more positively engaged.1
- You can improve your self-esteem. Exercising in green environments have also been linked to improved self-esteem and reducing negative moods such as tension, anger, and depression.1
- It’s better for your physical health. Studies have shown that outdoor environments, particularly green spaces, support better physical health both subjectively and objectively. That means that your sense of well-being, heart health, immune system, and recovery time are all positively affected by your green environment.2
- It’s also better for your mental health. Work out outside to improve your general mental health, psychological well-being, anxiety, stress, or depression. Both your well-being and perceived well-being benefit from taking-in natural spaces.2
To help get you going, here are a few green activities you can try:
- Plant trees
- Go hiking
- Canoe or kayak
- Explore natural parks (or take advantage of the free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass)
- Go for a bike ride
- Play tennis
- Sign up for an outdoor fitness class or boot camp
- Join a recreational sports leagues for soccer, ultimate Frisbee, or flag football
Whatever activity you choose, don’t forget to keep it green. For more information on what exercises are right for you, you can ask a chiropractor.
- Gladwell VF, Brown DK, Wood C, Sandercock GR, Barton JL. The great outdoors: How a green exercise environment can benefit all. Extrem Physiol Med. 2013; 2(1): 3. doi: 10.1186/2046-7648-2-3.
- Triguero-Mas M, Dadvand P, Cirach M, et al. Natural outdoor environments and mental and physical health: Relationships and mechanisms. Environment International. 2015; 77: 35-41. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2015.01.012.