Sometimes it's easy to forget how important a change in scenery is. But when was the last time you took your workout outside of the four walls of your gym?
It may not seem like there's a huge benefit of working out outside, but it affects your mind more than you know! For example, did you know there's a whole sub-section of therapy called ecotherapy?
What is Ecotherapy?
Ecotherapy is also known as nature therapy and green therapy. It is based on the idea that people benefit from connecting with nature. Research has seen that spending time in nature can decrease anger and depression while increasing positive emotions.
Surprisingly though, even looking at nature from a window or photographs can improve your overall mood, mental health, and life satisfaction (lucky we have huge windows on the gym floor at Craig Ranch Fitness + Spa). But other research has shown the benefits of listening to nature sounds, such as birds tweeting. So to get the whole affect, I recommend taking your workout outside!
Plus, being in the sun enhances your body's vitamin D production, which can help boost your mood!
Even low-intensity exercise counts!
You don't have to run a marathon or complete a triathlon to feel the benefits of working out in the outdoors. Even low-intensity activities count! For example, walking, gardening, or a slow bike ride to enjoy the scenery. Even though you won't be sweating like crazy and sore for days, you'll feel a boost in your mood and energy!
Plus, you'll feel an increase in self-esteem. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) Fitness writes, "Interestingly, low- to moderate-intensity physical activity shows greater improvements in self-esteem than high-intensity outdoor exercise." Walking, cycling, horseback riding, fishing, and gardening are seen to improve self-esteem!
Simply enjoy the beauty!
One of the main benefits of exercising outdoors is that it's so beautiful. Even if you don't typically enjoy nature, you can't deny the beauty of a neighborhood park or a field of flowers!
Plus, the natural beauty will keep your mind from feeling bored and it will help you work out for longer. Your workout won't feel so normal or mundane. It'll feel fresh and new, which will make you want to keep going and going! Focusing on the environment will help you focus less on how much your legs hurt from running, so your time working out will increase without you even realizing it.
You'll burn more calories!
When your body gets used to a particular workout, the amount of calories you burn decreases. To continuously burn more calories, you have to keep challenging your body in new and unfamiliar ways.
Chances are, your body is used to the treadmill or a stationary bike, because you use them almost every day. But running or riding a bike outside is totally different, and it feels different, too. Your body will most definitely be challenged by the outdoor terrain if you aren't used to it!
Fend off workout boredom!
Simply fending off workout boredom is a great reason to take your workout outside. If you feel like you're in a rut in the gym, change your scenery. You'll most likely feel differently outside, and you'll reap all the benefits of outdoor exercise. What a win-win!
As humans, we were never really meant to spend all of our lives inside four walls. You can use your exercise time to simultaneously connect with nature, which is sure to help you feel better!
It'll make your workout feel more like child-like play. Enjoy your time outside!