Why Exercise Outside?
We all know the benefits of exercising, but do we consider the benefits of where we’re performing that exercise? Naturally the gym tends to be our go to as it has the equipment and space for most types of exercise. However, there are some brilliant benefits to training in the great outdoors, particularly if you don’t have time to travel to a gym near you. Here are just a few of the reasons why you should consider moving your workout outside from time to time.
You get a boost of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because it’s produced in your skin as a response to sunlight, although you can also get it through certain foods. Your body needs Vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. It helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, helping to facilitate normal immune system function.
It can improve your mood
Not only does exercising out in the sunlight give you a boost of Vitamin D, but it can boost your serotonin levels. Serotonin is the key hormone that stabilises our mood and feelings of wellbeing. Exercise itself promotes the release of serotonin, however people have been found to have higher levels of serotonin in the brain on bright sunny days. Furthermore, studies of shift workers have detailed the effects of sunlight on mood. As altering the normal light and dark cycles by sleeping during the day and working during the night, under artificial light, can disrupt the body’s metabolism.
It challenges you
Exercising outside can challenge the body in new ways. For example, running on a treadmill or cycling on a static bike isn’t quite the same as doing so outdoors, where you may encounter a steep incline, rough terrain, or other obstacles. This forces the body to adapt. Even the unpredictability of the weather and exposure to natural elements can be an added factor for the body to overcome, increasing the difficulty of the workout.
It adds variety
Training in the gym can at times become monotonous when sticking to the same training regime. According to a study from the University of Essex, being outside can act as a ‘distractive stimulus.’ This is because when our attention is drawn to the external pleasant green environment, it takes our focus away from the physiological sensations we might be undergoing, such as breathlessness. It is suggested that exercising outside also reduces our perceived effort, so we can train harder without feeling as tired.
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