With summer still in full swing, there is still time to make the most of the longer days and experience the many benefits of exercising outside
The sun certainly feels like it is here to stay (for now) and with the longer days it is a perfect chance to incorporate some outdoor exercise into your weekly routine. The summer can be full of distractions as the BBQs get lit and beers get cooled, but it can also provide excellent motivation to start getting more active. Lets be honest, everything seems easier when you don't have to de-ice the car or jump out the super snug winter PJ's!
There are also several benefits from exercising outside (that said not all exercise needs to be outside even in the summer)
#1 - Natural Anti - depressant
If you have read my previous blogs you will know exercise can have an impact on our serotonin levels, a hormone that affects your mood. Well the sun has been shown to also increase serotonin levels acting as a natural anti - depressant along with giving you added exposure to Vitamin D. Vitamin D has also been proven to increase your mood. A win win!
#2 - Provides an escape
If you are someone that gets anxious and nervous about exercising in a gym environment, outdoor exercise is a great option. You can do it in your own space and time and do not have to feel intimidated by the unfamiliar machines and space of the gym. An outdoor environment is often much more therapeutic and a distraction to both the current exercise and also daily life. We might not all be lucky enough to live by an idyllic coast but find a quiet park or just enjoy your own outdoor space at home.
#3 - Its Free
You do not need a lot of expensive gym equipment to enjoy the benefits of exercising outside. I touched on this in my previous blogs but there are so many options to getting more active outside. Lace up the trainers and go for a walk, try an outdoor gym, grab an exercise mat and do some body weight exercises or perhaps take to a bike, kayak or SUP (stand up paddle board)- the options are endless.
#4 - Make is sociable
Exercise can (and should be) FUN. So grab your friends and set up a game of rounders in the park or a badminton net in the garden. Or perhaps instead of going straight for a coffee or lunch date start it off with a walk around the park. Not only does it make it more enjoyable but you are far more likely to stick to it.
#5 - It is more challenging (but you won't realise it)
Exercising outside can provide a much more challenging environment with uneven terrain and wind to name a couple. Each time you encounter a new terrain, hill or just a hole in the road your body is forced to adapt meaning it has to work harder. This means you will burn more calories and push yourself further, yet I bet you won't even notice the difference with the distractions and scenery the outdoors brings. The changes are you are actually likely to also increase the length of your work as it is more enjoyable too.
There you have it, not only is it a lot easier to motivate in those summer months, exercising outside brings a lot of additional benefits of its own (there are many more then my top 5). Exercise and the benefits / changes it brings can be addictive, so if you start now, you will be far more likely to adapt and carry on in those darker winter months.