Fitness Health

7 Benefits of Exercising Outside This Spring

exercising outside
Written by Edith Rodriguez

It had been a while since I had taken my exercise outdoors and I cannot express in words how much I enjoyed it.  When I lived in Tucson, Arizona, I was a daily hiker at Tumamoc, a mid size hill in the central west side of the city.  The health benefits I experienced were beyond physical.  Exposing myself to the outdoors also brought mental health benefits, not just toned legs.

 

In the city I live now, I have found many beautiful and hidden trails that I have enjoyed but I hadn’t found one that challenged me quite like I wanted until a couple of days ago.  I found a hill that led to a city view at its summit and one that left me without air as I climbed the tough incline.  It was perfect!  It reminded me of Tumamoc.  It was when I reached the summit that I realized what I needed a little more of in my life.  A little more sun, a bigger challenge, some fresh air, a city view, some vitamin D, and some more greenery for my eyes.

 

exercising outside

 

Here is why I decided I will be taking my exercise outdoors a couple of times a week this spring and summer…

 

Benefits of Exercising Outside

 

1.  You burn more calories

Sometimes the body needs a challenge and when we change routines, we are more inclined to pushing ourselves harder.  Besides, the terrain comes with incline changes that our body needs for that extra push to burn more calories.

 

2.  You get more vitamin D

We need our bodies to absorb calcium from vitamin D so that we can have strong bones.  There is no better way to absorbing vitamin D than through direct skin sunlight when we exercise outdoors.  So if you spend most of your day inside a building, get out and start absorbing that sunlight.  About 15-20 minutes of exposure is recommended depending on skin color.

exercising outside

 

3.  It boosts your mood

Exercising outside boosts our mood and improves our self-esteem.  Studies have shown that just 5 minutes of walking in nature and being exposed to greenery, will have a positive effect on our mental health.  Those who are exposed to bodies of water saw even better results.  Find the nearest park, hill, lake, or trail and notice how your mood improves.

 

4.  It feels less routine

Even if we repeat the same trail, we have the choice to change-up the routine.   Following different trails or even starting at the opposite end, will make the workout a bit more interesting and less routine than the gym.  You can even change-up the run/walk intervals and add sets of squats or lunges in between.

 

exercising outside

 

5.  You breathe fresh air

If you are indoors all day, you already know how nice it is to go outside and breathe fresh air.  A benefit of breathing fresh air is that it supplies oxygen which is needed by our brain and cells.  This also is a benefit because it helps our brain have clarity.  Of course in a city with much pollution, getting fresh air might be a little hard to do.  In this case, try to find a nearby mountain to hike on the weekends and enjoy that dose of fresh and clean air.

 

6.  You’ll go longer

Time flies when you aren’t looking at your treadmill’s timer.  You will find that time travels much faster when the environment is your distraction.  You will be less inclined to counting down minutes or squats you have to go because your attention will be on the scenery instead.

 

7.  Save Money

We all know gym memberships are not cheap!  And if you aren’t one who takes advantage and shows up frequently, than it may be a waste of money.  Taking fitness outdoors can save money for those who are looking to keep a little extra cash in their pockets.

 

Do you like exercising outside?  Or do you prefer to stay indoors?

exercising outside

About the author

Edith Rodriguez

Edith Rodriguez is a wife, teacher, adventurer, and the blogger at Unblemished. On her blog she writes lifestyle posts on living a healthy and joyful life. Her hope is to inspire and motivate you to live a life in wellness.

6 Comments

  • I miss hiking on the mountains a lot, but since Jax was born, things have been different. I just don’t have time. Still, I enjoy walking through the neighborhood. It’s like you said, just being outside seeing people and nature, make you feel better physically and mentally.

    • I can’t imagine! I’m sure your little one keeps you super busy! Take him with you, even if you get just 10 minutes. Get out there girl!! Oh and yes, just walking outside a few minutes does help-A LOT.

  • I love the outdoors. Mainly for running. I used to be a treadmill person until I discovered the pleasures of going outside and experimenting the world from another perspective.

  • Hi Edith,
    I love exercising outside. I like walking. I live in the north of Spain and it rains quite a bit here over the WInter and Spring months. There’s nothing like getting out in the fresh air though. For the days when I don’t manage an outdoor walk, I have an aerobic rebounder trampoline. I really enjoy using that too. It means that I can jog without damaging my knees (which already have an injury)
    I don’t know whether you’ve heard of the Camino de Santiago? You may have seen the film “The Way” with Martin Sheen? Anyway, I live very near to part of the Camino. For quite a long time I’ve been wanting to do the last part of it. A couple of weeks ago, I managed a 24K hike. That felt like an achievement since I have problems in my knees and legs from Multiple Sclerosis. But it was SO invogorating as well. There’s nothing like being out in the countryside. It was beautiful. I didn’t mind that it rained. I just loved being out and walking. I just wrote my latest blog post about that experience if you’re interested.
    I find that walking with a friend helps me to stay motivated. It’s easier to keep going if I’ve got someone to chat to!

    • Sorry I responded so late. Your comment went to spam. How funny! I just watched that movie about a couple weeks ago and I told my husband I’d love to do that hike someday if it was real, and here someone tells me they live near it. 24k! What the body can do is is amazing and that’s awesome you took on that challenge and that you keep enjoying it. You definitely inspire me! And it really does help to be out. Nature has a way of healing us, must be the fresh air?! Thank you for your lovely comments 🙂

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