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The Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors

With the current lockdown situation, we must savour our time outside more than ever, particularly if you don't have a garden or private space to move in at home. 

The 1hr we are permitted outside is a precious time for your body and mind.  Whether you are out running, doing a circuit in the park or going for a walk, the benefits of being and moving outside are huge!


So what are these benefits of Exercising outside I speak of - 


Let’s start with a really important one… It’s Free - What’s better than that?

Gym passes, memberships and fitness equipment can be costly and off-putting, especially if you are just starting out with exercise.  The great outdoors is free and there are loads of ways of turning everyday outdoor items into equipment to help with your workout.

You just need to use your imagination or follow the 100’s of amazing workouts that are available online at the moment.  There are endless exercises you can do on a park bench.  Just remember to spray it down before and after with antibacterial spray!


Exercise outside can also save you money.  If you live close enough to the post office or shops why not walk, run or cycle there rather than jumping in the car.  Save money on fuel and parking as well as boosting your fitness. 


The great outdoors is easy to access.  Just open up your door and you are in it!  No messing, no stress, just enjoyment. 


Being outside will Improve your mental and emotional wellbeing and can help with conditions such as depression and anxiety.  We know that getting regular exercise helps reduce the risk of heart disease, improves mood, reduces stress and improves sleep, all of which help with mental health issues, but being outside enhances many of these benefits. 

Many studies have proven that exercising outside has been shown to reduce depression and anger and exposure to sunlight increases Vitamin D production which is responsible for this lift in mood. 


Training outside can also be a workout for the mind.  You have to be more aware of the constant changes in the environment and what effect that has on how you move.

The changes in terrain, such as hills or running through the mud will make your body react differently to how it would when on a stable floor inside.

Similarly, weather conditions that change how you work.  If it’s been raining you spend a lot of your time avoiding puddles and changing direction to avoid those wet feet.

All of these put further demand on the mind and challenge it in a positive way.  You have to make quick decisions on foot placement and you make constant adjustments to your body balance to make sure you don't fall or slip keeping your body and mind active and connected. 


Fresh air.  You probably didn't know that the air inside your home could be more polluted than the air outside, even if you live in built-up areas.  Currently, with fewer cars on the road and planes in the sky, the air is cleaner and better quality than it's been for a very long time.  So make the most of and get out there!  

Ideally exercise in natural settings, around trees (they help us breath) and near water to get a strong grounding and stress-reducing effects.  Just being outside is an amazing opportunity to get reconnected with nature.

It’s well documented that trees make you happy as well as boost your immune system, lower blood pressure and aid sleep.  Forest bathing is becoming more and more popular because of these health benefits and doctors around the world prescribe it to patients for a huge range of conditions.

Social prescribing is a growing movement in the NHS and can include activities such as gardening, volunteering, sports, and walking groups to improve patient's wellbeing. 


I'm sure after reading all that you don't need any further reasons to get outside and improve your health and wellbeing, especially with the current Covid 19 rules.

So get outside and get moving!


Arron Collins-Thomas

Founder of TONIQ

 

Please comment below if you found this article helpful.  Tell us what exercise you love to do outside.  Share this with someone who you know would benefit from reading this.  The U Perform family loves sharing ideas and encouraging each other.

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