Why Exercising Outside is BETTER For Your Health than Inside
It is commonly known and supported by a large body of research that intentional physical activity is good for your physical and mental health – but there is growing evidence that physical activity outside may be the superior. The benefits of humans being in nature and exploring the natural world around us are known to have positive mental and social impacts so let’s be honest... it makes sense that combining the two would combine to make some sort of super exercise, right?
Well specialists from a variety of research fields have even indicated that benefits from outdoor sport frequently go further being simply active in a non-natural environment. The benefits can be looked at in 6 overall categories: mental health, wellbeing, physical health, education, life-long learning, active citizenship, crime-reduction, and anti-social behaviour as well as additional benefits. The we will discuss today are mental and physical health although the others are no doubt important and will feed into our mental/physical health.
Synonymous with general physical activity, exercise that is down outside has numerous positive health benefits like improved heart function (improved blood pressure, lower resting heart rate), reduced general obesity, and improves strength of your muscles and bones but it also can reduce your risk for serious diseases such as diabetes or several common cancers. Outdoor activities have also been shown to help prevent multiple sclerosis and the onset and progression of myopia. (** This is an extremely paraphrased list and could be a whole blog it itself but I will stop here for now). Outdoor sports, whilst some say have commented are “riskier” is actually untrue and has not been confirmed by any research and inactivity actually poses a much higher risk to early death. Now, despite the positive physical effects outdoor sport has also been shown to improve our own perception of our health which leads to a better health related quality of life. This leads me into the next section… mental health.
When the outdoors is researched the topics focused mostly on the effect it can have on mental health. Personally, for me (Kris) – keeping good mental health is super important to my day-to-day happiness, wellbeing, and to achieve my goals.
Indulge me but a side note – but as you know Made By Movement’s mission is to improve and support the movement that moves you and support your passions, especially those who love outdoor movement. For me, hiking and trail running is HUGE but due to an injury I got during a track season which resulted in a torn hip labarum I have 2 choices of surgery or continued mobility and strength, a couple of the things that have really helped me are: Pilates, yoga, and weightlifting… and luckily, I enjoy them and wanted to share the stuff I love with other people like me. I know you guys are out there!! They allow me to keep hiking, and going for distances that before I would be crying at.. and believe me there used to be crying in pain.. I know sad. But that’s the truth and honestly reduce pain, improving how I move helps me in so many ways… can do the activities I want without hesitation, confidence in my abilities, can focus on the activity and enjoy it (etc I could go on of course haha).
OKAY OKAY - Back to the research – There is a lot of support in the literature for improved mental health and overall wellbeing because of being active in nature (check them out here). It has also been reported that participants who exercised in natural environments compared to “un-natural” had overall greater feelings of positive engagement and revitalization, less tension, anger, depression, anxiety and confusion.
I think anyone who has a love for sport and the outdoors will look at these findings and roll their eyes a bit because OF COURSE. But it’s an excellent reminder how important those activities we love so much are to not only our mental wellbeing but our physical. Protecting our bodies to allowing us to continue these is incredibly important to our FUTURE wellbeing, mental, and physical health.
*Shameless plug* Try Made By Movement, not only will it get you strong and mobile but it will KEEP you that way.
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