exercising outdoors

Exercising Outdoors – What is “green exercise” and why should you do it?

Have you heard of “green exercise”? It’s a buzz word which refers to physical exercise undertaken in natural environments. So, what are the benefits of exercising outdoors?

The benefits of exercising outdoors

We all know that physical activity is great for our physical and mental health, but does it really matter where you do it? Well, kind of! Exercising anywhere is good for you, but research has shown that you may get additional benefits if you move your workout outside. Here are five reasons why you should consider exercising outside:

1. It improves your mood. There’s just something about the outdoors that makes us feel better. Research shows that exercising outside can help to reduce stress, depression and improve your mood.

2. You get more Vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed for strong bones, muscles and overall health. Being physically active outside increases sun exposure – which is the best natural source of vitamin D. So, go on – enjoy the sunshine (just remember to slip, slop, slap!).

3. It’s cheaper! You don’t need to pay those pesky gym fees when you’re exercising outside. There’s no need for expensive equipment either, so it’s a great option if you’re pinching your pennies!

4. It boosts your self-esteem. Research shows that time spent outdoors can improve self-esteem. The results were more pronounced for those living with mental illness.

5. It can increase motivation. Studies have found that green exercise may help motivation to undertake physical activity by increasing enjoyment and escapism from everyday life. There is also both social and entertainment value added when exercising outdoors.

Easy ways to get a workout outdoors

Exercising outdoors doesn’t mean you have to commit to running a marathon. Here are some easy ways to incorporate an outdoor workout into your exercise routine.

Take a walk in your lunch break. Rather than eating your lunch at your desk or staff room, take a stroll outside. The fresh air and movement will leave you with more energy for the afternoon.

Try out your green thumb. Getting out in the garden is a great way to be active and spend some time outdoors.

Mix up your commute. Many of us spend hours sitting at a desk all day, followed by hours sitting in a car getting to and from work. To sneak in a bit more activity (and some time outside), try mixing up your commute. Hop on your bike and cycle to work, get off the bus one stop earlier, or try parking a bit further away. Every little bit counts!

Go exploring! Make the most of your weekends by getting outdoors! Explore your local national parks or hit the beach… The view will take your mind off the fact that you’re actually exercising.

If you’re new to exercising, have a chronic condition or just want some advice, we recommend chatting to your local Accredited Exercise Physiologist. To find one near you – click HERE!