Keeping an exercise routine going through the winter is challenging. But when your workout has the opportunity to boost your mood, burn more energy, improve your health, and save you money, the choice to get away from your creature comforts and get active becomes that bit easier. Getting out in the fresh air and surrounding yourself with nature may give you a better result long-term.
7 Reasons to take your exercise outdoors this winter
1. Burn more calories
Running or cycling outdoors burns more calories as you have to combat wind resistance, uneven ground and tackle slopes, so your body works harder and you burn more energy. A good tailwind can help you move a little faster too, which activates the larger type II muscle fibres responsible for strength building and muscle tone.
2. Energise your mood with O2
Getting out in the fresh air increases oxygen uptake and helps release the feel-good brain chemical, serotonin – meaning your outdoor training sessions not only help keep you fit and healthy but lift your mood too.
3. Boost vitamin D levels
When the sun hits our skin, it creates vitamin D3, important to bone health and metabolic function. In addition, exposure to sunlight during the day can help you sleep better at night, improve immune function and increase endorphin production.
4. Save money
You don’t need to commit to long-term gym membership fees when you can exercise outdoors for free. The only investment you’ll need to start is a good pair of trainers and the motivation to get going!
5. Get a full body workout
Walking, hiking or running on terrain that is constantly changing teaches your body how to adapt to a changing environment, which is great for your balance, helps spatial awareness, and builds core stability. The more challenging the terrain, the harder your body has to work to sustain an efficient work rate. In addition, a constantly changing surface can enhance the strength of your connective tissue, which may help you avoid certain injuries.
6. Triggers primal regions of your brain and psyche
Green exercise is also proven to improve your mood and self-esteem. And not much time is required to reap these psychological benefits. The first five minutes of green exercise show the greatest psychological benefit, so even if you can only manage a daily brisk walk you’ll still see some benefit.
7. Sensory stimulation in nature
The beauty of exercising outdoors is the space you’re in. Running through different scenery means you have a lot to look at, so you’re less likely to get bored. Observing the seasonal change of our natural environment is a great way to connect with nature, still the mind and lift our spirits! So what are you waiting for…