Green exercise involves physical movement in outdoor environments. You are engaging in green exercise if you are running around with your child in a city park, hiking alone up a mountain or gardening in your backyard. Green exercise benefits your mind and body, and allows you to experience these benefits while enjoying a large variety of activities. Here are three benefits of green exercise:
1. Mental Well-Being
Studies have shown that green exercise has an impact on your well-being. Just five minutes of outdoor exercise has been linked with increased self-esteem and decreased risks for mental health problems. Outdoor exercise is a great stress reducer. For example, some people find themselves feeling more relaxed when gardening or fishing. A simple walk through a path lined with trees, bushes and grass can reduce your stress and take your mind off of things.
One of the discoveries about green exercise is that if you combine "green" and "blue" environments, you will experience greater results. For example, if you have ever lived in or traveled through an area that has mountains with a view of the water, you have probably experienced a greater sense of awe. This same effect has been observed in studies. The combination of the natural environments of greenery and bodies of water increases your sense of well being.
2. Physical Benefits
The physical benefit of green exercise is the same as any other type of exercise. Hiking, swimming, cycling or walking are all green exercise forms that can increase your heart rate and strengthen your muscles.
With green exercise, you are more in control of your exercise intensity. You can tune into your physical state and determine how hard to push yourself. This is different from being in an aerobics class where you work hard to keep up with others or at home exercising to a videotape where someone else is leading your workout routine. With most types of green exercise, you can move at your own pace, which is great for preventing injury and letting you practice tuning into the needs of your body.
3. Stimulation and Enjoyment
One of the advantages of green exercise is the sheer variety of exercise types and settings. Some people need this type of variety to avoid boredom and to make exercise a daily habit. When working out in a gym or inside your home to a video, it is easy to feel like you're in a rut. Many people find that when they are engaged in green exercise, they're enjoying themselves so much that they lose track of time. This is especially the case if you choose several different types of activities each week.
For example, you can vary not only the exercise type but also the setting. You may choose to go cycling along the water one day. The next day you might cycle through a new neighborhood. If you enjoy swimming, you can find a lake or beach surrounded by greenery. You can also engage in activities that are productive, such as gardening, that get your body moving.