The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors

Shandra Martinez

| 2 min read

Exercising in nature offers a wide range of benefits for both physical and mental well-being.
Here are some of the key advantages:
Enhanced mood and reduced stress: Nature has a calming effect on the mind and can help alleviate stress and anxiety. Studies show exercising in natural environments can lead to improved mood and increased happiness.
Boosted physical performance: Natural environments often provide varied terrains. Exercising in such environments engages different muscle groups, enhances balance and stability and improves overall physical performance compared to exercising in a controlled indoor setting.
Increased vitamin D intake: Spending time outdoors exposes you to sunlight, a natural source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bones, regulating the immune system and supporting overall well-being.
Increased motivation and enjoyment: Many people find exercising in nature more enjoyable and motivating than indoor workouts. The ever-changing scenery, natural beauty and exposure to wildlife can make outdoor exercise more engaging and fun, leading to a higher likelihood of sticking to your fitness routine.
Improved cognitive function: Spending time in nature has been linked to enhanced cognitive function, including improved attention, memory and creativity. This can translate into increased focus and productivity during exercise and other daily activities.
Lower perceived exertion: Research suggests that people perceive physical exertion to be lower when exercising in natural environments compared to indoor settings. This means that you may feel like you're putting in less effort while still achieving similar or even better results.
Increased social interaction: Exercising outdoors provides opportunities for socializing and connecting with others who share similar interests. Whether it's joining a hiking group, playing team sports, or participating in outdoor fitness classes, nature-based activities can foster social connections and a sense of community. When exercising in nature, it's important to stay safe, dress appropriately for the weather, stay hydrated, and be mindful of potential hazards or wildlife encounters, depending on your location.
Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any exercise program and do not attempt exercises if your physician or healthcare provider advises against it.
Learn more about exercising outdoors in “Hike” the World’s Popular Trails Challenge in this Blue Cross Virtual Well-Being℠ webinar. You can also sign up for future employer-focused and individual well-being webinars and meditations here, where you’ll also find past webinars and meditations on demand.
Photo credit: Getty Images

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