The physical and mental benefits of exercise are immense, but did you know that you can leverage these benefits more by exercising outside rather than indoors? Well, experts unanimously agree that outdoor activities exponentially boost your mental health, which makes your physical exercise even more fruitful. And because outdoor or green exercise is in most cases offered to you free by Mother Nature, you are able to save a lot compared to working out in the gym. Saving money is among the life accomplishments that enhance your mood and alleviates stress. With that in mind, let’s focus on 9 of the most notable health benefits of taking outdoor activities.
1. Improves your mental wellbeing
As we mentioned, your mental wellbeing greatly improves when you exercise outdoors. One of the reasons for this is the awareness that your mind has throughout the exercise, particularly in regard to the changing terrain and weather. Unlike in the gym where the floors are flat and benches evenly positioned, the terrain outdoor includes winding paths, hills, woods, and valleys. You are forced to be focused and alert at all times and that alone benefits your mental health.
2. Best way to get Vitamin D
Your bones and blood cells need a lot of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D for them to be healthy. Working out under the sunlight helps your body to absorb these minerals seamlessly. Also, getting 5-15 minutes of sun at least once in every two days gives your body all the Vitamin D it needs.
3. Boosts self-esteem
Your self-esteem increases exponentially when you spend time with friends doing different outdoor activities. This effect is particularly strong when you spend time near water, green areas, and within sounds of nature such as waterfalls. Walking along nature trails, fishing, and gardening, among other moderate-intensity physical activities, are important for your esteem as well. Playing with paintball guns is another worthy activity as it gives you a renewed sense of accomplishment, which is a major confidence boost.
4. Promotes memory
Nature walks have shown a significant relevance in memory retention among humans. Walking around trees, for example, promotes your memory by more than 20%.
5. Stress-reduction effects
Cortisol- the hormone that indicates the level of stress in humans- reduces greatly when you spend time in the forest, say, watching birds and taking part in low-intensity outdoor activities. Camping in the woods, for example, is a far much better activity than spending time in the city, especially for people who suffer from anxiety. It has also been scientifically proven that people who spend more time in the wild have a better heart rate than those who spend hours sitting in front of screens or in city traffic.
6. Reduces anxiety
As we have mentioned above, something about outside calming down an anxious mind. You will attest to this fact even if you aren’t fond of going out- you definitely have experienced the calming nature of Mother Nature even if it is through a house plant or pictures of nature. Many offices nowadays have nature wall arts hanging on office walls as a way of calming down angry, stressed, and anxious employees. If that works, then you can imagine the significance of being in the presence of that waterfall or mountain you see in office wall art. Nevertheless, if you continue having anxieties and the episodes don’t stop, you can hire the services of a life coach who can provide assistance and help you find calmness.
7. Improves the quality of your sleep
Your sleep cycle is dependent on the accurateness of your internal clock. If the clock isn’t working right, then you will have a hard time regulating your night sleep. The clock works right when the cells in your eyes get enough sunlight during the day, particularly before mid-day. That is why you need to be out as many minutes as possible in the morning hours. This requirement becomes more important as you get older.
8. Boosts your immunity
We mentioned that morning sunlight boosts your Vitamin D levels. The more the Vitamin D your body gets, the stronger its immune system becomes. On top of that, being within outdoor plants helps you leverage the health benefits of the phytoncides and other organic compounds that plants produce. These compounds boost immune function in humans.
9. Helps burn some unwanted fat
When you play outside- say, with paintball guns, you burn tons of calories and unwanted fats. And because being outdoor during the day helps you to sleep better, coupled with the fact that better sleep facilitates faster weight loss, the role of outdoor time in your physical fitness can never be overemphasized.
If you are a travel nurse, you probably spend hours indoors in front of a computer and under artificial lights. And because you are overwhelmed by work in the office, you don’t have enough time to catch up on news and social trends, so you spend your evening basking in the glory of social media and TV. It is to your best interest if you could end this harmful behavior. Get off the couch and take a walk of nature for a healthier lifestyle.
We hope that you found these benefits helpful. If you would like more information on outdoor activities, specifically hiking our article: Hiking Nurse: 9 Handy Hiking Tips for Adventurous Travel Nurses is a great resource.