This is an easy topic for me to talk about. I absolutely LOVE spending time in nature and to combine my love for exercise and the outdoors is the absolute dream!
Studies of the so-called 'nature pill effect' suggest that your way to a healthier life could be boosted simply by getting out in the fresh air – walks in nature or working up a sweat doing some simple exercises in your local park.
From running outside to diving into lakes, our bodies and minds respond well to getting out into nature.
Working out in nature can seem daunting to many people and with anything in life, don’t over think it! Even just getting out for a daily walk is going to do your mental and physical health a whole lot of good.
Reasons why working out outdoors is better than working out in a gym
1. It’s a natural antidepressant. Outdoor exercise can help ward off seasonal affective disorder (SAD), depression and anxiety because sunshine naturally increases serotonin, a hormone that affects your mood. And exercise itself produces endorphins, another feel-good hormone that boosts your mood and reduces pain.
2. It’s free! All you need is some space and an exercise mat to get going.
3. You can turn it into a social outing! I would say the majority of my social life is working out with friends…. Followed by coffee, obviously!
4. Variety – variety is the spice of life!! I started sea swimming recently due to a running injury. I couldn’t bare the thought of not working out in nature so decided to take the plunge into the sea! I honestly had no idea how it would go… I love the sea, but I am also slightly scared of it. Sea swimming has become a big part of my life now, a challenge, a new hobby that I absolutely love and even better, I have made some new connections!
5, Enhanced Self-esteem. Research shows that as little as five minutes of outdoor exercise can improve self-esteem (Barton and Pretty, 2010). Any outdoor location will do, but being near greenery or water enhances this effect. Interestingly, low- to moderate-intensity physical activity shows greater improvements in self-esteem than high-intensity outdoor exercise. Activities shown to improve self-esteem include walking, cycling, horseback riding, fishing and gardening. A regular dose of outdoor activity can help boost the already powerful esteem-enhancing effect of exercise.
Put simply, getting outdoors is AMAZING for you. From natural light to breathing in fresh air, putting on an old pair of trainers and opening the front door could be the start of something transformational.
What are you waiting for… Stick on those trainers and get yourself out into the wild!