The benefits of exercise to the human body can never be overemphasised. Exercise improves the overall health status of the body, improves sleep, helps to stay in shape, reduces stress and more. In recent years more people are making the decision to exercise regularly, whether it’s to stay in shape or to release stress.
According to a recent study* between 2000 and 2017 the United States experienced a significant increase in the number of people who registered for health clubs and fitness centres, suggesting that more and more people are becoming aware of the importance of exercise for overall health.
However, you don’t need a gym membership to enjoy the many benefits of exercise – exercise can be done almost anywhere, when you have the time, as not all exercises need specialised equipment. If you aren’t able to spend money on a fitness centre membership, exercising outside is less expensive and can be just as effective.
THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISING OUTSIDE
Exercising outside takes many different forms; it could be a walk in the park, outdoor yoga, cycling, mountain climbing and more. Whichever way you decide to exercise outside, you stand to gain a lot:
- A More Challenging Workout
When you exercise outside, you’re exercising with all the elements in your environment. For example when running a forest or mountain path you’ll experience different terrain, and sometimes obstacles that need you to push yourself harder than running on a treadmill. All that hard work makes your exercise session more beneficial, and gives you more satisfaction at the end of your workout.
- No Membership Fees
Exercising outside is usually inexpensive, and often completely free. Walking through the park with your friends, walking your dog, or using a park bench to do some reps of your workout doesn’t require a monthly subscription to access! Compared to a fitness centre where you will need to pay for a membership – and in some cases pay to access complex equipment that you might not use – exercising outside is a cost-effective option.
- Fresh Air
In New Zealand we’re lucky to have clean, fresh air outside. Exercising outdoors means there’s no restriction to fresh airflow. Most fitness centres try as much as possible to keep the atmosphere and temperature conducive for their members, but it’s difficult for air conditioning to compare with rich, fresh outside air.
- Free Vitamin D
Sunlight gives you vitamin D, and it’s completely free – nobody is going to charge you for enjoying the sunlight when you’re exercising outside.
Exercising outside is literally exercising anywhere outside your house – much more accessible than driving ten kilometers to use a treadmill. The time and energy you spend on the drive can easily be put into jogging through your neighborhood, giving you the same or better results.
- Improved Mood
We’ve all experienced what it feels like to be in a bad mood, and most times the sight of people lifting weights doesn’t help as much as a walk in the park or climbing a mountain. Outdoor exercises are very beneficial to mental health; the sight of the environment where you are exercising as well as the presence of plants and animals provides a quick and easy mood boost.
- Improved Social Life
In addition to the obvious health benefits, exercising outside can be socially beneficial as well. When you exercise outdoors you stand a better chance of meeting more people, and creating new connections and networks. The relationship you build with people you meet while exercising can go a long way towards improving your exercises; for example if you have a hard time finding the motivation to take a long walk, you can join groups of people to walk different paths and discover new areas. This will, in turn, improve your confidence and further increase your commitment to exercise.
Note that if you have any health complications or allergies, you are advised to talk to your doctor before you start exercising outside.