Outdoor Exercise Can Improve Mind, Body & Spirit
- Posted on: Jun 30 2011
“Green” fitness has positive effects on your mind and your overall well being.
There is no debating the numerous health benefits that come along with daily fitness and exercise: improved health and form, a reduced risk of illness and disease, and a significant decrease in stress and anxiety levels.
However, daily fitness is not the only way to improve your overall well being. Spending time outdoors, in the presence of nature, can also have many positive effects on the mind and the body. So, what happens when you combine the two and exercise outside?
Recent studies have found that green exercise―physical activity outside in the presence of nature―can lead to positive short and long-term health benefits on your mind, body and spirit.
Benefits of Green Exercise
Compared to exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments has been shown to decrease tension, anger, anxiety and depression. Many scientists believe the reason for this lies in the fact that, for many people, nature is a “restorative environment.”
Restorative environments are best described as places that can help to relieve people of stress and boost energy. Many scientists also believe that these environments can help to bring people more in touch with themselves and enhance a person’s feelings of “oneness” between their body and nature.
While all natural environments have beneficial health changes for those working out, individuals who exercised near a body of water generated the greatest effects.
A Little Goes a Long Way
One of the most surprising conclusions that came from these studies was the fact that people don’t have to spend a long time exercising outdoors in order to experience these benefits. In fact, research found that just five minutes of simple green exercise helped to make people happier, less fatigued and more relaxed.
While it is important to exercise for more than five minutes if you are looking to improve your health, many people will be happy to know that a simple five-minute walk around the block is enough to improve your overall mood. This can be especially helpful for those who only get a short break from work during the day and are looking for a way to improve their self esteem.
Quick Ways to Exercise Outdoors
It can be difficult for many people to escape from their hectic work day and get in some quality exercise. However, even five minutes outside can change your outlook and feelings towards the rest of the work day.
- Take a walk or jog around your neighborhood when you wake up in the morning or get home from work each night
- If you live near your workplace, consider walking or riding your bike to and from work
- Create a simple stretching routine that you can do outside during your lunch break
- Take your pet to a local park for a walk each morning
- Create an outdoor garden in your backyard
Outdoor exercise is an effective way to get in touch with your mind, body and spirit. Even just five minutes of outdoor fitness in the presence of nature can help to improve your mood, self-esteem and mental health.