As the weather warms, you may want to consider lacing up your sneakers and heading outdoors. While regular exercise provides a number of known benefits, research also suggests outdoor exercise may be good for both your health and your wallet. Getting outside can help make the most of what little time the average American devotes to exercise.
Most people think of the physical benefits of exercise, such as obesity management and the prevention of heart disease or diabetes. But regular exercise, particularly outdoor exercise, can also do wonders for your overall mood. A study conducted at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry analyzed data from trials of over 800 adults and concluded that, when compared to indoor exercise, outdoor exercise was associated with decreased anger, depression and tension and increased energy. Outdoor exercise participants also reported more enjoyment of their workouts and stated they'd be more likely to repeat them than their indoor counterparts.
While exercise in general tends to have a positive effect on confidence, outdoor exercise may be even more effective. One theory is that working out in a gym full of people can make it seem as if everyone is looking at you; working out amongst the trees and flowers takes away that feeling. Researchers at the University of Essex found a positive correlation between outdoor exercise and higher self-esteem. What's more, the researchers found that low-intensity exercise actually has the greater effect.
Those positive effects that come from outdoor exercise can make an outdoor exercise regime easier to stick with in the long run. Researchers in Canada found that postmenopausal women got more benefits from working out outdoors and were much more likely to adhere to an outdoor training program than those who mainly worked out indoors.
While it is important overall to protect your skin from the sun to prevent skin cancer, a little sunshine is actually very good for your health. When the sun touches your skin, the body creates vitamin D3, which is essential for bone health and metabolic function. Additionally, exposure to sunlight during the day helps improve immune function and encourages more restful sleep at night.
Outdoor exercise requires little more than sunscreen, some weather-friendly workout gear and a good pair of shoes. Over time, it costs substantially less than the average gym membership and is far more convenient as well. To begin your workout, just step outside and start walking.
It can be difficult to fit regular physical activity into an already busy schedule. However, outdoor exercise not only strengthens your body, it also boosts your mood and can even save you some money in the long run. These reasons should be enough to make it a priority to fit in a little outdoor exercise regularly.
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