14 Oct Exercising Outdoors Does Wonders For Your Mental Health
If you’re deciding between going for a jog on the treadmill in your gym or running outside, I’d highly recommend you choose enjoying the fresh air. While we all know that exercise does wonders for our body, whether you’re training indoors or out, there’s growing research exercising outside has some substantial benefits on your mental health.
Reducing anxiety and depression by exercising outdoors
It’s incredible to think that by simply changing up where you exercise you can reduce your symptoms of anxiety and depression. Working out in a natural environment has been seen to increase feelings of enjoyment, satisfaction and positivity. It’s also been found to decrease tension, anger and confusion. All this and improved energy levels.
A 2011 review conducted by the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry looked at the results of eleven studies into exercising outdoors. It found improvements in mental wellbeing were seen in every trial. The participants of four trials reported feelings of calmness after exercising outdoors. Another trial found that those who trained outside are more likely to repeat the exercise in the future.
“Our research, which brings together data from a wide variety of sources, adds significant weight to the case for spending more time in the natural environment as members of the public and their clinicians fight to counteract the negative outcomes of modern living, such as obesity and depression”, said senior author of the study, Professor Michael Depledge.
The list of benefits for outdoor exercise is extensive
Exercising outdoors is incredibly beneficial for your health both physically and mentally. Now that the temperature is warming up and the sun is out for longer, training in your natural environment is far more feasible. Here’s a list of benefits that may encourage you to get your sweat on outside:
1. Improve your attention and focus
Just a 20-minute walk through a park can result in greater concentration levels when compared to walking in your neighbourhood streets or city. Imagine what a HIIT session or yoga practice could do!
2. Improved consistency
According to a 2011 survey, you’re less likely to fall off the exercise wagon if you work out in your natural environment rather than hitting the gym.
3. Improved Energy
A 20-minute break outside can has been seen to improve your energy levels substantially. Time to give the 3pm coffee a miss, and head outdoors instead?
4. Reduce your risk of being overweight
Simply spending more time outside reduces your risk of being overweight, especially in children, found a 2008 study by Deakin University. Couple that with exercise, and your likely to see impressive results in your waistline.
5. Better Vitamin D levels
We need vitamin D to maintain general health, especially strong bones and muscles, yet a large portion of our population is vitamin D deficient. However, those who exercise outdoors aren’t in this group as they’re seen to have much higher levels of vitamin D. An interesting point to note, there’s a strong link between obesity and vitamin D deficiency.
Exercising outdoors will have a profound impact on your mental health. It will aid in combating anxiety and depression, provide you with the mental stimulation, and give you a more varied workout. It’s amazing to think, just by exercising out in the fresh air you can improve your self-worth and outlook in life.
What’s your favourite way to exercise outdoors?