5 Science-Backed Reasons to Exercise Outdoors

Exercise
Staying physically fit doesn’t have to mean spending hours in the gym. In a previous The Healthy Suggestions post, we pointed out that even doing a variety of household chores can help improve your fitness. However, another fantastic alternative is to head outdoors and exercise al fresco. In fact, plenty of scientific evidence points to how nature can be really good for your health and fitness journey.

1. It Provides Stronger Workouts

Studies have found that people exert more effort when exercising outdoors compared to working out in a gym. This is because we encounter a constantly changing and less structured environment when we are outside. In response, the body exerts more energy to adapt to the surroundings, like inclines, bumps, and obstacles — none of which happens on a treadmill. So if your goal is to reduce weight or be more physically fit, outdoor exercises will do more for you than just breaking a sweat.

2. It Improves Happiness

The sight of greenery can have a significant impact on your mood. According to research detailed on Tree Hugger, the simple act of noticing nature has an effect on personal well-being. The study found that a subject group was much happier when tasked to experience nature first hand than those who were asked to ‘human-built objects’. If acknowledging nature can already change your mood, what other benefits could it provide when you exercise while surrounding yourself with the outside world?

3. It Strengthens Your Immune System

There is a decades-old Japanese practice called Shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing.” This involves going for a walk in the forest and immersing yourself in its surroundings. While the activity is often done for the benefit of de-stressing, researchers have also found that regular forest bathing can actually improve your immune system.

Trees shower themselves in an antifungal, antibacterial compound called phytoncides. When inhaled by humans, these compounds can produce a specialized white blood cell that can deal with tumorous growths in the body. Hence, exercising outdoors can not only help you shed weight and build muscle; it will also boost your immune system and keep you from getting sick.

4. It Reduces Blood Pressure

Stress and blood pressure are directly linked since stress hormones cause the heart to beat faster and the blood vessels to narrow. The situation is worsened when you experience chronic stress. The outdoors can, therefore, provide therapy for those seeking to lower their stress levels while reaping the other benefits that exercise in general provides.

5. It Encourages Social Interactions

When empirical studies revealed that people tend to enjoy outdoor workouts more, psychologists suggested that the reason could be linked to the fact that the participants often exercised with others.

Social health forms part of a person’s wellbeing, and regardless of whether you are introverted or extroverted, social interactions can help reduce stress and increase happiness.

There are plenty of group workouts to enjoy outdoors, including yoga sessions at the park, hiking with friends, and cycling the countryside with a partner.

Making the Most Out of Your Outdoor Workouts

Given all these reasons to head outdoors, it’s important to note that there are some considerations to be made that you wouldn’t normally worry about at the gym.

For one, there are no drinking fountains or vending machines in most outdoor venues, so it’s important to bring your own water bottle that you can easily carry around with you. Opt for a soft flask that can carry the water you need without being too heavy or bulky.

Another consideration is the weather. It’s best to come prepared for any weather conditions, and bringing gear that’s suitable for the day. This can help you avoid risking any heat-related illnesses in the summer or freezing outdoors on colder days. Water can definitely help with the former, as is checking forecasts like the National Weather Service, which provides a handy guide on which temperatures can be dangerous for outdoor activity.
Meanwhile, cold weather will require you to dress in more layers and cover extremities like your head, hands, feet and ears in more frigid conditions. When it comes to outerwear, the lighter, the better. In this regard, Woman Within’s packable puffer jacket is lightweight and helps to insulate the body. It can be worn on its own on mildly cold days or layered underneath thicker clothing on extremely cold days out. On more unpredictable days, it can be folded up and stored in a bag, so you can put it on in case of a sudden chill.

Inspired to take your workout outdoors? Go and start plotting your preferred routes and spots for your exercise routines today.

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4 Exercise Ways to Fight Allergies

Allergies are abnormal reactions by the immunity system to foreign substances in the body. They are a nuisance and manifest through various symptoms such as pain, itchiness, stuffiness, breathing difficulties, the fullness of ears, runny nose and many other symptoms. Fortunately, regular workouts can help to reduce allergy symptoms by enhancing blood flow in your body, which facilitates the eradication of allergens. Despite that you cannot entirely do away with your allergies, working out often can lessen your allergic symptoms since the enhanced circulation of blood due to physical activities prevent inflammation to the delicate tissues within your nasal cavity, mouth, lungs and other sensitive organs. The beauty of using exercises to fight allergies is that the activities do not have to be intense, but you need to ensure your blood is circulating. Too much intense activity may even aggravate the symptoms so do not push yourself so hard.

Here are some ways through which exercises can help fight allergies and enable you to feel well in a short time include:

1. Exercises Increase The Heart Rate

Working out for some time helps to raise your heart rate resulting in a better feeling and being energized. The extra energy resulting from the boosted heart rate is what a person experiencing allergic symptoms requires to feel relieved. To get the heart pumping and blood circulating efficiently, you need to do cardiovascular exercises. Some of the activities that are good include running, jogging, rope jumping, boat rowing, walking on the treadmill, volleyball, and others. Besides having an anti-allergy effect, these activities will help you to torch calories hence lose weight.

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2. Working Out Discharges Endorphins

Performing exercises releases endorphins the brain chemicals that eradicate pain and discomfort which help to deal with allergies. Doing exercises for a duration of say 20 minutes will trigger the release of the chemicals into the system making you experience better feelings as well divert your mind from the stuffy nose.

3. Exercising Opens Up The Lungs and Nose

You stand to gain from working out by having the very areas that allergies affect opened up. Among the familiar allergic symptoms is causing nose blockage and experiencing difficulty in breathing. A good workout session can cause the nose and the lungs to open up and alleviate some of the discomforts that the affected persons suffer. Also, workouts may complement any medication you are using thus yielding better results.

4. Exercising Enhances The Immune System

Exercising comes in handy in dealing with allergies by improving the immune system. Improved blood circulation due to exercising enables white blood cells to circulate faster thus enhance immunity. The body’s ability to fight diseases and other conditions is significantly increased.

Conclusion

Consistent exercising can help to keep allergic symptoms to the lowest possible level by increasing the heart rate, releasing endorphins, opening up the nose and lungs and by boosting immunity. You can work out for 20 minutes a day about thrice per week, and you will have got an excellent allergy management strategy.

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