With the New Year in full swing, many people have begun to tackle their New Year’s Resolutions, a list of the ways that they want to change their lives in 2018. For many people, these goals are related to fitness or getting out in nature more often, two different activities that have many similar health benefits. In fact, according to several studies, fitness is better when done in the great outdoors. From mood boosting to variety, here are four reasons why you should turn to the great outdoors for fitness inspiration.
A recent study took a group of volunteers and gave them two workouts that were virtually identical-one workout was on a treadmill, and the other was an outdoor hike. After each workout, the volunteers were tested to find out what their moods were and how strenuous the workout felt to them. The study found out that the outdoor hike was more challenging but felt easier, and that the participants were in a better mood after hiking. The hike left people feeling relaxed, leading the scientists to guess that the beauty of nature provided an additional mood boost not usually available in a gym.
Fitness, in general, can help a person feel less stressed by producing endorphins or chemicals in the body that help reduce stress. Being in nature also has numerous health benefits, from reducing muscle tension to reducing the hormones that cause stress. Looking at these facts, it is no surprise that working out in nature is beneficial. Whether walking, running, or an obstacle course, many argue that working out in nature feels less intense than working out in a gym. This allows a person to push themselves even harder than before.
There are many activities to chose from in the great outdoors. Hiking, fishing, camping, swimming, hunting, biking, obstacle courses, horseback riding, or just playing games, there is no shortage of options. When choosing an outdoor activity, there is more freedom than when choosing a machine in the gym. Outdoor workouts can also be simple, however, and include things like walking or biking instead of driving, and doing other activities manually instead of with a machine. Several short activities can be just as useful as one large one. Whatever activity someone chooses, it is important that they have the correct gear for it, from gloves to boots. Companies like woodburyoutfitters.com have a wide variety of specialist products for outdoor activities.
There is also evidence that the addition of sunshine is a major bonus to personal health. Vitamin D is produced by human skin when it is exposed to sunlight, making this exposure a bonus of outdoor fitness. Natural light can also help improve a person’s mood. The sunshine also adds a few risks, however, like sunburn and dehydration. As a result, it is critical to remember to be careful when working out in direct sunlight.
Of course, it is important to remember that while there are many advantages to outdoor fitness, that is not the critical part. Whether working out in a gym or out in nature, it doesn’t matter what kind of exercise someone is doing. The thing that really matters is that they are participating in a form of fitness, and that they are enjoying it.
** This is a collaborative post **