With the summer season in full swing, it’s no wonder that people all over the U.S. are lacing up their sneakers for a sweaty training session outside. And while any form of movement is beneficial, science is proving that incorporating some time with Mother Nature into your workout routine has some serious advantages.
Interested in learning more? Then read on below for just a few of the reasons why you should be taking your training outdoors.
IT PUSHES YOUR BODY
Let’s start with the obvious. Switching up the location of your workout is a great way to challenge yourself. From the physical change of terrain to the visual difference in environment, everything about a session is different when it’s moved outdoors. This is especially true if you’re feeling bored with your current routine. Substituting a climate controlled space for fresh air and wind, is an entirely different experience. However, that’s not all. Studies have even found that treadmill runners and indoor cyclists expend less energy as those covering the same distance outdoors because of even the slightest differences in environment.
IT HELPS YOU GET THAT VITAMIN D
As we covered earlier in the season, overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can be dangerous to both the skin and eyes. However, it is important to note that we do still benefit from sensible sun exposure a few times a week. In fact, when sunlight hits our skin, the vitamin D3 is synthesized by our bodies. According to Medical News Today, vitamin D is essential to the regulation of calcium and the maintenance of phosphorus levels in our blood, two factors that play an essential role in the health of our bones.
IT AIDS IN A HEALTHY HEART
While regular exercise has long proven to be a great way to maintain heart health, some studies have now shown that taking your routine outside can enhance those benefits by more substantially lowering levels of cortisol (a hormone related to stress) in the body.
IT’S A NATURAL MOOD BOOSTER
You’ve probably heard it said before from someone committed to their workout routine that exercise helps them to feel better mentally just as much as it does physically. Maybe you have even experienced that sense of high after a great swim or long run.
But do you actually know why? If not, then you are not alone. In fact, the research surrounding this phenomenon is actually pretty complicated. While some credit our mood boost to the feel good endorphins produced in the brain, others claim it is the result of our body’s enhanced ability to respond to stress.
So what does this have to do with being outside? Well, studies are now demonstrating that when combined with nature, the mental benefits of exercise can be even greater.
To that end, psychotherapist and author Elizabeth Lombardo told Mindbodygreen, “Research has demonstrated in the past that nature or even looking at nature, such as in a painting, can help reduce stress. And doing exercise that you love, such as walking on the beach rather than pacing on a treadmill, can decrease stress and boost happiness.”
IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR WALLET
Sure this isn’t exactly a scientific reason, but who doesn’t love to save a little bit of money? From expensive gym memberships to monthly class subscriptions, working out indoors can become quite pricey. And while we are all for enjoying whatever form of exercise makes you feel best, it never hurts to enjoy a free sweat session once in a while!