As our society becomes more technologically advanced, more and more of our activities are being taken indoors, while our time outdoors shrinks. It is entirely possible and actually very common to go a whole day and spend no more than a few minutes outside. Our exercise is being brought indoors too. Not only do we have aerobic workout movies, but even outdoor exercises and sports are simulated on video game systems. No matter how great this seems, exercising outdoors offers some benefits that the inside world just can’t beat.
1. It’s Free
One of the greatest benefits of exercising outdoors is that it’s free! While a gym membership could cost $30 or more per month, no one’s going to make you pay to walk outside, go for a bike ride or go hiking. There’s more space, more freedom and you don’t have to pay a dime to experience any of it.
2. Exposure to Vitamin D
The sun is a great mood booster, and the vitamin D it provides is wonderful. It makes your bones stronger, strengthens your immune system and helps protect your body against cancer. Although vitamin D can be obtained from other sources, the sun is still the best source for the human body.
3. More Fresh Air
No one likes the musty, sweaty smell of gym air, and we know that it’s dirty, too. Environmental agencies in the United States predict that indoor air is two times more polluted than air outside. Who doesn’t prefer the smell of nature to the smell of their treadmill partner’s sweat?
4. Mental Stimulation
Exercising outdoors provides mental stimulation that indoor workouts cannot. Whether you’re working out at home or in a gym, you’re surrounded by the same four walls for your workout – and they probably aren’t very exciting if you exercise there regularly. On the other hand, going outside gives you constantly changing scenery that stimulates and excites your brain. Your mind can get a workout at the same time your body does when you exercise outdoors.
5. New Exercises
Although video games may claim that their exercise simulations are just like the real thing, it simply isn’t true! Hiking outdoors is physically more demanding than a treadmill on an incline, and bicycling on a biking path gives you more opportunities to push yourself than setting a program on a stationary gym bike. There are more exercise types to try if you are willing to go outside, so give them a try.
6. Mood Improvement
Exposure to sunlight is a common treatment for depression and other mood disorders. Studies show that depressed exercisers who go for a walk outdoors feel happier and have better self esteem than those who walk on a treadmill indoors. Endorphins, which can raise your mood and keep it stable, are released when you spend time in the sun. A walk outdoors is the perfect fix for a bad mood!