Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Why You Should Consider Exercising Outdoors

Exercising outdoors brings with it a whole host of advantages, along with some disadvantages. Depending on where you live, exercising outdoors may not be an option during some parts of the year. In the Northern Plains and Northeast of the United States, you have bitter cold and snow in the winter that prevents you from exercising outdoors. In the desert Southwest, the extreme heat in the summer has the same effect.

However if you walk or run, you’ll get a better workout if you exercise outside because:
  • Your ankles flex differently due to the varied surface, so you use more and different muscles.
  • You use different muscles going downhill, something you can’t do on a treadmill.
  • You’ll burn more calories due to air resistance. Expect a 2% to 10% increase in the amount of effort expended. 
  • Your frame of mind will be better.
Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
While the first three are physical advantages, the last one is psychological. Virtually every study performed has shown that those who exercise outside scored higher on tests that measured vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after walking outside when compared to groups walking indoors. Plus on a sunny day, you get your Vitamin D!

Known as the sunshine vitamin, health benefits derived from getting Vitamin D naturally include:
  • Preventing cancer – recent research suggests Vitamin D slows the growth and progression of cancer cells.
  • Reducing hormonal problems – Vitamin D influences how certain hormones, such as insulin, rennin, serotonin and estrogen react thus improving blood pressure, diabetes, depression and sleep, while reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.  
  • Combating obesity – Vitamin D deficiency can interfere with the hormone leptin, which is what tells the brain you are full and should stop eating. People deficient in Vitamin D are twice as likely to be overweight.
  • Reducing inflammation – Vitamin D strengthens your autoimmune system, thus reducing the risk of the body attacking itself as it does with diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
And you can save money by exercising outdoors! You don’t need a gym membership which initially saves you money, but that is only the beginning – you save even more money by not burning fuel in your car to get to and from the gym.

You can exercise anywhere. There are very few places where you can’t walk or run, making it the almost perfect exercise when traveling for business or pleasure. Just be sure to pack a pair of walking, running or cross trainer shoes and your workout clothes.

With the availability of sidewalk, trails and paths, plus the obvious health benefits and savings, you have no excuse to not exercise outside. Just lace up your shoes and get going!

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