“Getting outside can offer more than just an escape - it can be a space to find perspective, regain focus & drive and can help to clear your mind”
- Lucy Mathews
Exercise benefits us both physically and mentally but as research suggests, exercising outdoors can be associated with greater feelings of revitalisation, increased energy, and positive engagement. Aside from reducing feelings of tension, stress and depression and elevating the mood, the exposure to sunlight by being outdoors can increase levels of Vitamin D which can help to support your immune system and bone function. So if you are finding yourself battling constant colds, coughs, illnesses, headaches and even signs of depression, getting outside can have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing.
Most of us go to work as the sun is rising and get home when the sun is setting. We spend so much of our time inside at work, and even exercising can be spent inside meaning that we are simply not getting enough sunlight. One of the easiest things you can do is to change some of your commuting journeys to cycling, walking or running. Cycling to work will give you time to think about the day ahead leaving you with more energy, and cycling home from work will give you time to reflect upon your day releasing any stresses you may be feeling. If this isn’t possible try and do 30 minutes of light cardio outside before or after work two to three times per week. You will feel less stressed while looking after your health.
So many of us choose to go into a gym for our daily exercise routine, which is great. But exercising in your local park offers tonnes more benefit than your step machine does. The constant change of terrain and weather can make you train harder and your overall fitness and strength will improve. Not to mention the change of scenery while being in the natural environment will help to lift mood and decrease any of your daily life stresses. You can also switch up one of your weekly gym workouts and join your local outdoor fitness class. The camaraderie of outdoor group exercising means you will remain more consistent and you will work up a good sweat whilst laughing with your new friends. So the next time you plan to head to the gym to run on a treadmill why not run around your local park and improve your running ability or join a local outdoor class in the park to improve your fitness.
One of the easiest ways to exercise outside is at the weekends with your friends and family. Saturdays and Sundays are the perfect days to get outside and breathe in some much needed fresh air. There are so many fun activities you can do outside with your family. For example going on a family cycle, going for a long walk or even trying some new water sports activities like kayaking or surfing. It's the easiest and most enjoyable way to make sure you have spent time in the sunlight, your exercising with your loved ones and most importantly you're cleansing your mind.
If none of these are possible and you really can’t find time to exercise outside then make sure you plan a weekend trip or a holiday that is spent outdoors. You could go to the countryside and spend your weekend cycling or walking, head to the beach and go surfing or sailing or head to the mountains for a week of trekking or skiing. Think of this as your time to get outside, get healthier, clear your mind and regain focus and drive for the remaining year.
There are tonnes of options where you can incorporate exercising outside daily, on the weekends and throughout the year. The benefits are vital to our overall well-being, health and not to mention it can improve our fitness. So the next time you get to Friday and realize that you haven’t spent any time outdoors try to plan a fun activity to do where you are breathing in some fresh air outdoors.
And now, after spending the afternoon writing this blog post in a cafe and realizing that l too need some outdoor time. I am going to walk back home along the river as the sun is setting before relaxing in front of the TV for the evening.