As the warmer, sunny weather rolls around, our motivation to move more tends to rise. We might feel more inclined to take a quick walk outside during our lunch break or hike with friends on the weekend. The weather can certainly impact our will to exercise, but did you know outdoor activity can benefit the mind and body? Let’s explore five reasons to get outside and get moving.

  1. Stress and Mental Health Management

Research has shown that outdoor activity can help decrease feelings of anger and depression while improving mood (ACE Fitness1). Sunlight increases our body’s production of the hormone serotonin. Serotonin is known for being a mood booster and promotes feelings of calmness (Healthline2). Studies have also shown that the Vitamin D we get from time spent in the sunshine also helps to stabilize mood and lower depression risk (Healthline3). Activities outside help bring a break to your day where you can pause to notice your environment. It helps you be more present by identifying the sights, sounds, and smells around you in nature.

  1. Stay Budget Friendly

Outdoor exercise doesn’t require any extensive membership or subscription fees. Just find a safe, well-lit area and some supportive gym shoes. While fitness facilities and personal trainers come with an array of benefits, a workout outside can be just as effective while being budget-friendly. A well-rounded outdoor routine can include a variety of aerobic activities along with bodyweight exercises for strength training.

  1. Add More Challenge

While you can adjust incline and resistance on machines at the gym, it still isn’t the same as experiencing the changes in terrain outside. Between navigating hills and ground coverage or pushing your distance to a further finish line, it’s easier to challenge yourself in the great outdoors.

  1. Change Your Perception of Exercise

If you want to make exercise a lasting habit, it is necessary to find the activity somewhat enjoyable. Maybe gyms or exercise classes are not your idea of fun. Instead, you might find outdoor exercise to be more motivating. Moving your activity outside is a reminder that exercise can come in many different forms. Exercise feels less like a chore when you can enjoy nature scenery or share a friendly greeting with a neighbor as you pass by. There are many ways to be active outdoors, so get creative and start with something enjoyable. Changing your perception of exercise might change your feelings towards it as well.

  1. Keep it Social

Whether you are grabbing the family for an after-dinner bike ride or talking with a friend while going for a walk, it is easy to add a social and family-friendly element to outdoor exercise. Outdoor activities often involve community and connection, which leads to added motivation and accountability. Keeping exercise social can help put more fun in your workouts.

Considerations for Outdoor Exercise

The benefits of outdoor exercise are numerous, but several considerations will keep it safe and enjoyable. Always be aware of your environment. Choose safe, well-lit areas and pay attention to traffic and weather conditions. Dress in the appropriate clothing, shoes, and accessories for the weather, and don’t forget sunglasses and sunscreen. Consider bringing your phone, identification, and a little cash should you need it for an emergency. A good safety practice is to tell someone beforehand where you will be going and how long you expect to be out. Finally, don’t forget to bring water to stay hydrated before, during, and after your workout.

Always consult with your physician before starting a new exercise program.

Continue Reading June 2024 Newsletter: 5 Ways to Incorporate Mindful Moments into your Day