The Proven Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

Inspiration from the iGnite Blog Article Archives

Aug14_2016

Point to Ponder:
Are you spending enough time exercising outdoors?

Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

Yes…it is HOT outside, at least before this amazing cool and wet front blew in! WHEW! Despite the actual temperature, it is always a great idea to exercise outdoors. I don’t only think this because I prefer outdoor exercise and it is iGnite’s philosophy, but if you happen to be a someone who needs actual evidence, I have listed below the proven benefits of exercising in nature, which are all undeniably awesome!

  1. It’s More Challenging and More Effective – Studies found that outdoor running/walking is more strenuous than the indoor treadmill/eliptical. In studies comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of running outside, treadmill runners expended less energy to cover the same distance as those striding outside, primarily because indoor exercisers face no wind resistance or changes in terrain, no matter how subtle. The machines are obviously doing some of the work for you. When you run outside, YOU provide the movement. Running outside increases your work load from 2% to 10%!!!! The same dynamics apply to cycling: Where wind drag can result in much greater energy demands than going the same distance on a stationary bike. That means if you have limited time and want to burn as many calories as possible, you should head outside instead of the gym!
  2. It Improves Your Mood – In a number of recent studies, volunteers have been asked to go for two walks for the same time or distance — one inside on a treadmill and one outdoors. In all of the studies, the volunteers reported more enjoyment outdoors, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked outside! And of course exposure to direct sunlight greatly affects your mood.
  3. You’ll Do it More Often, for Longer and Be More Active – In another study, those who exercised outside exercised longer and more often than those working out indoors, and were significantly more physically active than those who exercised indoors!
  4. Stress Reduction – Studies have found that people have lower blood levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress, after exerting themselves outside as compared to inside! And, green space raises serotonin levels.

What I am definitely not recommending is exercising outdoors in the heat of the day. We should all consider the intense heat and it’s dangerous effects. However, rising early to beat the heat while also focusing on proper hydration makes for the absolute best opportunity to enjoy the amazing benefits of exercise under the blue sky and amongst the trees and birds. There’s nothing better for your body, mind and spirit!


Action Item:
Rise early to beat the heat, and stay proper hydrated so you can experience the amazing benefits of exercise in nature.


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6 thoughts on “The Proven Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

  1. Pingback: Member Spotlight: Tracey Nelson | the iGnite blog

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  4. Pingback: Celebrate the Magic of Nature | the iGnite blog

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