There is something called “green exercise” which is simply physical exercise that takes place outdoors. Physical exercise alone can help improve your overall physical health, which we know. But did you know that when you take your exercise outside, it can actually improve your mental health too?
You don't even need to be outside for a long period of time. Surrounding yourself with nature for even just a few minutes can help reduce anxiety and stress levels. Pair that with physical exercise, and you've got yourself an extremely beneficial workout.
Taking your workout outside can help improve your mood. The exposure to natural sunlight cues your brain into producing more serotonin, which has been known to increase feelings of well-being and happiness.
Being outside in the sun also boosts your levels of Vitamin D, even if you're only exposed to the sun for a few minutes. Vitamin D helps to maintain strong bones by helping the body absorb more calcium.
The outdoors is ever-changing. The same trail you walked three weeks ago may not be the same the next time you walk on it. Exercising outside forces your body to utilizes different muscles than you would if you were exercising inside. The uneven terrain requires more balance, stability, and coordination, giving you a more well-rounded workout.
Adding variation to your workout routine can make it more fun and exciting. Find a new route for your daily walk or try a completely new exercise that you may be interested in. In a natural landscape, there are always different things to look at, so the distractions may even help you to work out for longer periods of time.
Exercising outside doesn't have to be strenuous. Take a walk on a nature trail or through your neighborhood, or try yoga in a nearby park. Whatever you do, make sure to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the scenery!
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