According to studies, people spend 7.6% of their time outside. That’s it. Less than 8% of our time is spent in nature. A lot of people are stuck indoors, chained to their screens, and uninterested in stepping outside to breathe in some fresh air. Rarely does outdoor exercise occur to most people as an option to improve their lifestyle.
While these statistics sound defeating, it can actually be a great call to action, especially for athletes and people looking to get strong and fit. Exercising outdoors can completely transform not only your workout routine but your mental and physical health, and it’s entirely possible to introduce outdoor activities into any program.
Still not convinced you need to go outside? Let us explain why it’s so beneficial and what kind of activities you can do.
Fresh air will give you more energy
Feeling too tired to push through a workout? Try going outside. There’s nothing like fresh air to make you feel more awake and alert, and it could be just the thing you need after a long day of being stuck at the office. Fresh air helps us improve circulation and strengthens our immunity, and simply being outside can motivate us to move around and be active instead of vegetating in front of a screen.
Regardless of when you do your workouts, outdoor activities can help. If you get up early in the morning, going out can help you wake up, and if you do them in the evening after work, going out could shake you from that post-lunch stupor.
Increase focus when exercising
At home, there are always a dozen things fighting for your attention. There are social media feeds to scroll through, that new show on TV you like to watch, that laundry chore you’ve been putting off, your family members demanding your attention – an endless number of small things to pull you away from exercise. Unless you have good discipline, these things will ultimately make you skip your workouts.
When you go outside, the distractions cease. You can focus on the workout alone. You can enjoy the way your body moves without constantly checking your phone or waiting for the workout to end.
Good way to build muscles
Since fresh air helps improve your circulation and increases your focus, you can work out for longer and build muscles with more ease. Of course, bear in mind that building muscles require good nutrition and specific weight-lifting and bodyweight exercises. The very fact that you’re outside won’t do enough unless you pair it with the things we mentioned.
If you want to tone your body, follow a good weight-lifting program and make sure to include enough protein in your meals. If you’re looking to slim down at the same time, you can get whey isolate protein in form of a powder. Whey isolate can be used to make post-workout shakes, and it has a very small fat and carb content, so it can help you tone your body without adding too many calories to your diet.
Lowered risk of depression
You don’t even need to spend a lot of time outside to gain some of the benefits of fresh air and sunlight. According to Harvard Health Publishing, spending time in nature can lower your risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental diseases. And you don’t even have to spend more than 20-30 minutes outside to feel the effects!
This means that even if you don’t feel like doing your regular workout for the day, you can still go outside for a short walk to soak up the sunrays and enjoy the mood-boosting properties.
Connecting with the nature
Our fast-paced life leaves little room for nature, which means that most of us don’t get to enjoy the soothing, restorative effects of it. If you’re a yoga practitioner, doing your routine outside could be particularly beneficial because nature invites us to be calm, focused, and entirely present in the moment.
Connecting with nature is also important for anyone who likes to meditate. If you have trouble concentrating and emptying your thoughts when you are at home, going outside can help.
Outdoor activities increase self-esteem
Being stuck indoors all the time tends to make us disconnected from the world around us. Going outside and enjoying activities such as walking, running, or outdoor workouts can help us break out of our shell. This is especially true if you decide to invite a friend to exercise with you – not only will you get fit, you’ll also get to bond.
Now that you see the benefits of outdoor exercise, you can pick any kind of intensity for your workout. And bear in mind that you don’t have to exercise outside all the time to get the benefits. It’s totally okay to mix it up and stay indoors when it’s more convenient. Tailor your plan to suit your needs and enjoy yourself.