4 Bonuses to Getting Fit in the Great Outdoors

Desert woman thirsty dehydrated in Death Valley

You don’t have to be a gym buff to get your daily dose of exercise! The countless benefits of physical activity transcend the treadmill and surpass the stair climber. Consider Mother Nature the next time you put your sneakers on – and reap the many health bonuses that come with exercising beyond four walls.

Bonus #1: Nature Increases Your Mood and Energy Level.
Breathing in fresh air and surrounding yourself with nature’s garden can boost your health and happiness. Try this on for size: walking in the park vs. walking on a treadmill. In a British study, a 71% drop in depression was demonstrated after individuals took a leisurely stroll in the park. Additionally, scientists in the Finnish Forest Research Institute reported that stress, anger, and aggression decrease when individuals are exposed to nature’s green environment. Being outside can truly lead to more happiness down the road.

Bonus #2: Nature Is Free.
Joining a gym can be a challenge for your wallet. Taking your workout to the trees will save you from expensive membership and studio fees. In addition to cashing in, you have the leisure of exercising at any time. Mother Nature is open 24/7 and she won’t kick you out because you forgot to pay your dues!

Bonus #3: Enjoy More Clean Air and Fewer Germs.
A walk in the park or a rejuvenating tai chi practice on the beach allows for renewed appreciation of the earth and all of its special elements. An added benefit to outdoor fun is reducing exposure to various germs. Health clubs and gyms usually have high traffic of people, increased perspiration, increased skin exposure and much of the equipment may not be as clean as you would hope. In addition, you won’t have to breathe in harsh chemical disinfectants or others’ perspiration. Why wait for a machine when you can just slip on your sneakers and go?

Bonus #4: Leave the Monotony Behind.
Think beyond the elliptical machine! You can mix up your workout routine and reap serious rewards when you take your usual gym activity out of doors. Just remember to check the weather report first: you won’t want to work outside during a heat wave or a summer thunderstorm.

Here are just a few of the many fun options:

  • Walk it out. Instead of the treadmill, enjoy nature’s landscape by walking, hiking, or jogging outdoors.
  • Bicycle for your life cycle. Get a better view when you cycle outside instead of using the stationary bike or stair climber.
  • Swim with the fish. If you live near a beach or lake, consider taking a few laps by the shore and reap the benefits of the sea instead of indoor chlorinated pool water. Or walk in the soft sand. Try it out –  it’s a real workout!
  • Practice in the park. Take your pilates, tai chi,or yoga practice to a park or beach instead of a crowded studio.
  • Channel your inner kid and play outside! Tossing a Frisbee may help you burn between 100 and 250 calories in half an hour. Bounce on a trampoline, rock a hula hoop, rollerskate, play some soccer or take a canoe for a spin – and have fun!
  • Grow your garden. Enjoy gardening and landscaping and boost your health with beautiful flowers and plants.