How outdoor exercise goes beyond the benefits of just physical health
Many people are aware of the numerous benefits of outdoor exercise for physical health. It is well-established that regular physical activity can lower the risk of chronic diseases, improve cardiovascular health, improve overall cognitive function and even help maintain a healthy weight. However, the benefits of outdoor exercise go beyond just physical health - it can also significantly improve mental health.
Here are some of the ways that outdoor fitness can boost mental wellbeing:
- Improved mood
Exercising outdoors can help boost overall mood and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce feelings of anger, tension, and depression. The fresh air, sunlight, and natural scenery can all have a positive impact on mood and outlook. Additionally, exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters.
- Reduced stress
Exercise is a known stress reliever, and outdoor exercise has been found to be particularly effective at reducing stress levels. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can lower cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress. Being surrounded by natural scenery and fresh air can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Increased mindfulness
Outdoor exercise can also help increase mindfulness, which is the practice of being present and fully engaged in the current moment. When people exercise outdoors, they are forced to pay attention to their surroundings - the sights, sounds, and sensations of nature. This can help stay more engaged in the present moment and can promote a sense of calm and relaxation.
- Improved self-esteem
Regular exercise can help boost self-esteem, and outdoor exercise can be particularly beneficial in this regard. Being outdoors and engaging in physical activity can help people feel more connected to their bodies and to nature. This sense of connection can boost a sense of self-worth and can improve overall outlook on life.
- Better sleep
Exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality, and outdoor exercise can be particularly effective at promoting restful sleep. Exposure to natural light during the day can help regulate circadian rhythms, making it easier to fall asleep at night. Additionally, outdoor exercise can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, which can contribute to sleep disturbances.
In conclusion, outdoor fitness can provide numerous benefits for mental health. From improved mood and reduced stress to increased mindfulness and better sleep, spending time in nature and engaging in physical activity can have a positive impact on overall wellbeing. So next time you’re considering skipping a workout, consider walking or jogging to your nearest Fitness Court and reap the mental health benefits of outdoor exercise.