Written by Josh Hoodless
It’s official! Spending time outdoors is good for you.
When someone mentions outdoor fitness, what do you think of? Running? Push-ups in the park? Maybe a gruelling boot camp?
It’s been proven that it doesn’t have to be that hard. You can get the surprising physical and mental health benefits of exercising outdoors, just by being outdoors.
A recent meta-study on this exact topic was carried out by the University of East Anglia in 2018 involving 290 million people across 20 countries, including Australia.
The study revealed that exposure to the outdoors reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, stress and high blood pressure.
These health benefits were proven to be significant when just spending time in nature at a lower intensity.
The following mental health benefits from just being out in green areas can help you feel amazing. It’d something we all need right now more than ever.
For a start, there are no mirrors like in a gym. There’s no comparisons, no judgment, no fashion competition and no scantily clad person snap-chatting their workout routine in front of you. Escaping from that environment is important because almost 40% of women are put off from exercising for a fear of judgement and confidence issues. This positive impact is interestingly even greater when near greenery or water.
Reductions in anger and depression have been higher when physically active outdoors compared to inside. The improved mood from endorphin release when moving your body, together with vitamin D from the sun, improves mood regulation. No wonder my wife is always trying to drag me for a six-hour mountainous hike.
Our beaches and national parks are free. It doesn’t cost a cent to get outside so there’s no excuses there.
IMPROVES YOUR SLEEP
Exercising can help you get a good night’s sleep, but exercising outdoors in the fresh air can help improve the quality of that sleep.
For me, there’s something about being a tiny insignificant speck on top of a mountain or getting lost in the forest that helps put my life into perspective. I stop stressing about all the small, now meaningless issues I have.
I am achieving escapism while getting all of the physical and mental health benefits. Everyone needs to get outside, go at your own pace, get a bit healthier and explore what our amazing region has to offer.