People often underestimate the health benefits of outdoor sports and activities. Ever notice how often you hear, “I have to go to the gym.” That is all well and good because at least that person is going to the gym to exercise. But at the same time, you can experience a more fulfilling and beneficial boost to your health activities by going outdoors.
By getting your regular dose of outdoor activity and exercise, you’ll attain the benefits of lowering your blood pressure, reducing your weight, lowering your risk of diabetes as well as other cardiovascular diseases and cancers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week will play a large factor of maintaining a healthy weight as well as reduce the risk of chronic disease. For moderate exercise, try cycling or fast walking, heavy cleaning, mowing the lawn, or playing doubles tennis. If you’re more into vigorous exercise, try jogging, swimming laps, playing singles tennis or heavy gardening.
Besides the physical benefits of engaging in outdoor activity, there are massive social benefits as well. Instead of going to the gym, you can take a brisk walk with a friend along the numerous trails around the community. You’ll get fresh air and are more likely to go longer distances when you have a friend with you.
Combining physical activity with the outdoors has also been known to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Exercising in a park also brings about a positive mood and lowers cortisol levels. This is a hormone that the body releases when it feels stress. Breathing fresh air and being outdoors also helps in getting more Vitamin D from the sun’s ultraviolet rays as well as curing depression. The latter is achieved because sunlight deprivation can cause seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a form of depression.
Besides all this, don’t you just feel better being outside compared to a cramped and sweaty gym? I’d take the outdoors any day of the week.