Green exercise is a simple concept with significant benefits. When you engage in green exercise, you are exercising outdoors. Just the simple act of being outdoors, breathing in pure air and enjoying nature has proven to be good for both your body and your mind.
A careful analysis of more than 1,000 people across all ages, genders and levels of mental health has shown that when you work out in natural environments, you see both physical and mental health benefits. The natural environments in the analysis were not limited to just rural settings. Being at a park in a city will also deliver the same benefits.
The greatest impact from green exercise has been witnessed in people with mental health issues. Just five minutes of exercising outdoors is linked with a greater sense of well being and self-esteem. Also of note is that combining exposure to greenery and bodies of water strengthens the impact of green exercise. If you are going to go cycling, for example, and have the option, choose a path that takes you through an area with grass and trees as well as a view of a lake, stream, bay or beach.
Types of Green Exercise
Walking is one simple form of green exercise. To get the full benefits, choose a path that is away from vehicle exhaust and pollution. Choose residential neighborhoods with grass and trees over busy city streets.
Hiking is another form of exercise that is more taxing, but has enormous benefits. If you are just beginning to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, start by walking and add in small hills. Before long, you will find yourself accustomed to the uphill movement. Hiking a trail is an excellent form of green exercise. It is especially uplifting if you can find trails that take you completely away from city noise.
Swimming is an enjoyable form of green exercise, particularly when it is done in places that give you access to bodies of water surrounded by greenery. Swimming in a pool surrounded by trees is one example. Beaches and lakes that give you a view of greenery are also great options.
Cycling, walking, hiking and swimming are excellent forms of green exercise. However, there are other forms of physical movement that you engage in outdoors which you may not consider exercise. Research has shown that these activities also increase your sense of well being. For example, gardening, fishing and farming have been observed to heighten your mood. This is a tremendous benefit because you are simultaneously being productive, reducing your stress and meeting your physical exercise needs during these types of activities.
If daily exercise is a challenge for you, green exercise is a great option. Being outdoors will invigorate your senses. People who exercise in natural environments often find themselves enjoying the experience so much that they lose track of time. If you’re someone who watches the clock constantly while at the gym, green exercise may be for you.