Outdoor workouts have been gaining popularity in recent years, and for a good reason. Exercising outdoors has numerous benefits that can significantly improve both your physical and mental well-being. In this article, we’ll delve into the advantages of outdoor workouts and provide some top exercises to help you get started on your journey to embracing the great outdoors.
One of the most notable benefits of outdoor workouts is the exposure to natural sunlight. Sunlight provides us with a natural source of vitamin D, which is essential for maintaining strong bones, supporting the immune system, and regulating mood. Studies have shown that exposure to natural light can help reduce the risk of developing seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and improve overall mental well-being (1).
Another significant advantage of outdoor workouts is the opportunity to connect with nature. Research suggests that spending time in natural environments can have a positive impact on mental health, reducing stress, anxiety, and depression (2). Additionally, engaging in outdoor physical activities can help improve self-esteem and promote a greater sense of accomplishment (3).
Outdoor workouts also provide an opportunity for varied and challenging workouts. The constantly changing terrain and conditions can help to enhance your balance, coordination, and agility. Moreover, outdoor workouts can help to break the monotony of indoor training, making your exercise routine more enjoyable and sustainable in the long run.
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of outdoor workouts let’s dive into some top exercises to help you get started. When beginning an outdoor workout routine, it’s essential to choose activities that are both enjoyable and suitable for your fitness level.
- Walking or hiking: Walking is an excellent low-impact activity that can be easily adapted to any fitness level. For those seeking more of a challenge, hiking can provide an opportunity to explore nature while also engaging in a more intense workout.
- Running: Running is a popular outdoor workout that can be tailored to your fitness level and personal preferences. Whether you prefer short sprints, long-distance runs, or trail running, there’s an outdoor running workout for everyone.
- Cycling: Cycling is another versatile outdoor workout that can be adapted to suit various fitness levels. From leisurely rides through the park to intense mountain biking, cycling provides an excellent opportunity to explore the outdoors while also improving cardiovascular fitness.
- Bodyweight exercises: Incorporating bodyweight exercises into your outdoor workout routine can help to build strength and endurance without the need for gym equipment. Some popular bodyweight exercises to try outdoors include push-ups, squats, lunges, and planks.
- Yoga or stretching: Practicing yoga or stretching outdoors can help to improve flexibility, balance, and strength while also providing an opportunity for relaxation and mindfulness.
In conclusion, outdoor workouts offer numerous benefits that can significantly improve both your physical and mental well-being. By incorporating outdoor activities into your fitness routine, you can reap the rewards of natural sunlight, a connection to nature, and varied and challenging workouts. Start by choosing exercises that are enjoyable and suitable for your fitness level and gradually incorporate more outdoor workouts into your routine. Embracing outdoor workouts can lead to a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling exercise experience.
- Kerr, D. C., Zava, D. T., Piper, W. T., Saturn, S. R., Frei, B., & Gombart, A. F. (2015). Associations between vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms in healthy young adult women. Psychiatry Research, 227(1), 46-51.
- Beyer, K. M., Kaltenbach, A., Szabo, A., Bogar, S., Nieto, F. J., & Malecki, K. M. (2014). Exposure to neighborhood green space and mental health: evidence from the survey of the health of Wisconsin. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 11(3), 3453-3472.
- Barton, J., & Pretty, J. (2010). What is the best dose of nature and green exercise for improving mental health? A multi-study analysis. Environmental Science & Technology, 44(10), 3947-3955.