Physical training outdoors is great for improving physical fitness and gives mental boosts.
Working out in any environment whether, in the gym, in your home living room, or out in nearby parks has many benefits. You can improve physical fitness, and it is an excellent way to reduce stress.
You can get even more out from the workout when training outdoors in the parks, forest, on the beach. Working out right beside nature, shrubbery, running on the beach under the sun is low cost and mentally stimulating.
Physical Benefits of Training Outdoors
Physically More Challenging
When you run on a trail outdoors, you will encounter uneven terrain. You may be running on dirt or on grass, or if you are running along the beach, you will be trying to run on loose sand. You have to negotiate all the different angles the uneven ground poses to your body. By doing so, you challenge your entire body in as many different possible angles as possible. Over the long term, your body becomes stronger, physically literate. Your body will be more agile and able to adapt to new environments. When you run on the treadmill, you can basically switch off your brain and run straight ahead on either level flat surface or on grade.
Exercise becomes more interesting when you are training outdoors. You will see different scenery, you may have to jump over a dead tree stump, avoid a the puddle of water, or maybe run as fast as your dog. You definitely, won’t switch off your brain while training outdoors.
Other than physical fitness, training outdoors enhances mental health.
Mental benefits of Training Outdoors
We are all hard wired to nature. Evolution needs many, many more centuries to catch up to our fast-changing society and environment. We are all primal creatures living in a sophisticated society. Our lifestyles have drastically changed only about two hundred years ago. We, as the primal beings, were outside doing physical things, not indoors, lifting weights or running on a treadmill.
Training outdoors rejuvenates, boosts your mental capacity. You will reduce tension, alleviate depression, less confusion, anger, and stress. Your energy level will increase, have clearer mind and you will be able to focus better and function better.
There is growing evidence that supports the positive impact of human contact with nature. Being around nature enhances mood and improves energy. The David Suzuki Foundation’s 30 X 30 challenge discovered that their participants are happier and have more positive attitudes. They also report reduced feelings of stress, negativity and have fewer occurrences of sleep disturbances. The challenge also reported that workplace participants felt more productive at their jobs.
Hard-wired to Nature
This is how human is hard-wired to nature.
When you stand in the sun, your skin gets energy from the sun. The sunlight’s ultraviolet (UV) ray triggers an enzyme underneath the skin to produce vitamin D. In the research publication “Vitamin D hormone regulates serotonin synthesis. Part 1: relevance for autism” by Dr. Patrick and Dr. Ames shows that Vitamin D is a key ingredient in serotonin production. Serotonin is a hormone that enhances your mood and curbs negative feelings such as depression, anger, stress.
Vitamin D is needed in the body to regulate calcium and phosphorus. Chronic low levels of vitamin D can result in poor bone and teeth health. Vitamin D also has a protective effect over some forms of cancer, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes.
Thus, exposing your skin to UV rays for short durations can help you get Vitamin D from the sun. Yet, too much UV exposure can increase chances of skin cancer.
So how much sun exposure is enough. According to Canadian Dermatology Association’s news release “The debate about vitamin D and sun exposure”, most Canadians receive enough sun exposure in their day to day activities during the months of spring through fall. During the long winter months, the recommended method of acquiring vitamin D is by consuming food rich in vitamin D or vitamin D supplements.
In other words, increased level of vitamin D will cause higher levels of serotonin production. This translates into positive feeling of happiness, better focus, more energy, better mood. Training outdoors not only challenges your body physically. It also enhances your mental capacity and stimulates your senses. You will get more out from exercising outdoors than exercising indoors.
There are many selection of bodyweight exercises or kickboxing exercises that can be done outdoors in the park or at the beach.
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