Gyms have made working out accessible and although there are some great training programs and equipment options available, there’s nothing quite like training outdoors. From physical to mental health benefits, being outside can help you maximize benefits, all while calming the mind.
6 Reasons You Should Train Outdoors
There’s not quite like jogging through a lush forest — you simply cannot deny our connection to the great outdoors. Although this will relax your mind (which is discussed below), outdoor training offers a range of key benefits. If you haven’t already, here are 6 reasons to move your workout sessions outside of the gym.
- Less Routine
So many of us are stuck on what feels like autopilot — wake up, go to work, work out, come home, eat dinner, sleep, repeat. It’s great to have structure, but too much routine isn’t necessarily a good thing. When you break routine, you’re able to enhance creativity, become more inspired, and stimulate positive brain function.
Working out in the same gym means that you’re constantly surrounded by the same environment. When you run or workout in a park, there will always be new and exciting experiences. This can make working out more enjoyable, leading to increased level of motivation.
- Stress Reduction
As you’re benefiting your physical health, you’ll also support optimal psychological health. A number of studies have shown that being in a green space, even an urban park, significantly reduces stress levels and improves positive well-being. It’s believed that this occurs based on two key effects.
First, it appears that while surrounded by nature, our brains are able to rest, replenishing our ability to concentrate, reducing anxious thoughts and feelings. The second theory focuses on evolution, as vegetation and water were ideal areas for finding food and avoiding predators.
- Increase Vitamin D Intake
Vitamin D has the ability to improve bone health, enhance immune function, stimulate positive mood, and more. Those who suffer from a vitamin D deficiency, are at an increased risk for depression and brittle bones. If you work inside, training outside will have clear advantages.
- Maximize Muscle Power
When you’re running or training outdoors, you will actually work muscles that are not normally utilized at the gym. Outdoor terrain is uneven, offering slight inclines that significantly benefit your workout. From varied stops to sloped hills, you will essentially enhance muscle strength, balance, and stability.
- Boost Immune Function
Of course, as you reduce stress levels, you’ll improve your immune system, but exercising outdoors may offer its own unique benefits. Exposure to plants and trees may do more than calm your mind. It’s believed that plants emit key airborne chemicals, known as phytoncides.
These protect plants from insects, fungi, and bacteria. Within a key study, individuals who took a two-hour walk in the forest, experienced a 50 percent increase in their natural killer cells. This is what helps attack foreign invaders in your body, helping you reduce your risk of illness.
- Increases Energy Levels
A series of studies have shown that being outdoors, actually makes people feel more alive. Although we often reach for a cup of coffee, researchers say that nature is all you need to feel more energized. As your vitality increases, you not only experience higher energy levels, but your body will be more resilient to disease.
Research has shown that while in the presence of nature, individuals can ward off feelings of exhaustion naturally. In fact, 90 percent of those surveyed, reported that when placed in outdoor activities, energy levels increased. Step outside — feel alive!
Regardless of your fitness goals, you should switch up your routine every once in awhile. If you enjoy working out at the gym, spend half your time indoors and half your time outdoors. This will allow you to get the best of both worlds, especially if you require specific equipment.