Benefits of Being Outdoors and Physical Activity

We may have a stay at home order, but that doesn’t mean we need to stay inside. The weather is getting nice, and there are many health benefits to exercising outdoors. Remember, even when outdoors, to practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from others.

Here are some of the health benefits:

You will be happier. Exercising outdoors isn’t just good for your physical health.  It helps with your mental health as well. Spending time in nature and the natural light can improve your mood and reduce stress and depression. Engaging in physical activity produces similar benefits and often times relaxes and cheers people up.

Your self-esteem will improve. Outdoor exercise stimulates all five senses in a way that indoor activities cannot. Additionally, being out in nature impacts the brain in a positive way, making you feel better about yourself.

Vitamin D levels go up. Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is made in the skin when it’s exposed to sunlight. Studies suggest that Vitamin D may have protective effects against everything from osteoporosis to cancer to depression to heart attacks and stroke. Keep in mind, that too much sun can damage your skin. You only need about 10-15 minutes of sun several days a week during the warm weather. Use sunscreen if you plan to be outside for an extended amount of time.

You will exercise longer and burn more calories. Research shows that those who exercise outdoors burn 10% more calories when they walk or run than they do when they work out on a treadmill at the same speed. When exercising outdoors, the distractions of your surroundings take your mind off the work of working out. As a result, there’s a much greater chance that you’ll end up exercising longer than you would if you were exercising indoors. Another bonus, kids are twice as active when they play outside.

Take advantage of the beautiful weather and enjoy the extra benefits of physical activity outside!

Sources: WebMD & Harvard Health Publishing