Find out some of the most amazing mental health benefits you can gain from exercising outdoors.
If you're one of the many people in the world for whom the thought of exercising brings about a huge mental groan, you might wonder how you can motivate yourself to get up and get moving. You might know you need to work out to stay healthy but not know how to motivate yourself.
During the coronavirus, many people found themselves sheltering at home. This led to some mental health complications, as people had to isolate themselves.
Fortunately, exercising outdoors has mental health benefits. If you start an exercise routine outdoors, you'll notice mental health advantages and might find yourself more excited to work out. As spring and summer arrive, this might be the perfect time to try an outdoor workout.
Want to know the top 5 mental health benefits of working out outdoors? Keep reading to learn more!
1. It Triggers Your Body's Natural Depression-Fighting Agents
Did you know that working out isn't just good for your body, it's also good for your mind and gives you many mental health benefits?
When you start moving your body and elevating your heart rate, you start to produce endorphins. These chemicals naturally boost your mood and help reduce the risk and alleviate depression and anxiety. It can also reduce pain.
All of this helps you feel better, both physically and mentally.
2. Sunshine Fights Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Do you notice that you get more depressed during the winter months?
The reason behind those feelings might be because the days are shorter and the sun doesn't hit your area in a direct manner, many people suffer from a type of depression formally known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Oftentimes, people call SAD "the winter blues."
So, if you get sad during the winter time, what should you do?
People with SAD should do their best to go outside to get some exercise! This will maximize your exposure to the sun, which gives you mood-boosting vitamin D and helps you produce serotonin.
If you live in a warm climate, you may know how you want to do this. Perhaps there's a lovely trail nearby, on which you can enjoy lovely sights. You should do your best to get on this trail at least a few times a week, soaking in the sunlight and getting your body moving.
But what if you live in colder climates? In many places, trails and roads become full of snow and ice, making it difficult or dangerous to exercise on. Should you live in such a place, focus on the activities you can do. Put on your snowsuit and play a game of pie with your children or friends or go sledding and make yourself walk up the hill.
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3. It Reminds You That the World Is Large
Throughout the course of the last year, many of us had our worlds shrink to the size of our laptop and the space of our home.
Many others were laid off from their jobs, and quite a few found their mental health issues rearing their heads. Sometimes, the whole world seemed boiled down to our homes, us, and the struggles we face in our minds.
Going outside expands your world. Seeing the big sky and the buildings reminds you that life beyond the smaller world you've built still exists. For some people, this becomes extremely comforting. It doesn't mean that your mental health isn't a serious matter, but it reminds you that there is, indeed, more to life than what's in front of you.
So, if you start to feel depressed staying indoors, go for a walk. Take a jog in your favorite park, taking in the sights and sounds. This not only gets you great exercise; it helps you remind yourself that the world is still a large, beautiful place.
4. Fresh Air Equals a Clearer Brain
Do you ever find yourself thinking through brain fog?
When it comes to getting things done, brain fog gets extremely frustrated. You do your best to work through the fog, but it becomes difficult because you can't concentrate or think clearly.
When you are going for a run or walk in the great outdoors, you inhale fresh air. This type of air produces endorphins. As mentioned above, endorphins make you happy, but they help you declutter your brain as well.
So, if you want to take a break and clear your head, go exercise outside.
5. You Can Turn It into a Social Activity
During COVID-19, many people think that the coronavirus means you shouldn't go meet other people. In general, this is true, and you should be careful about whom you associate with during this time.
Yet, for many people, this lack of socialization has made life a lot more difficult. For these people, their mental health may depend on finding ways to safely see their friends.
Fortunately, the virus spreads a lot less well outdoors than it does indoors. As such, if you exercise outside, you can invite a few of your friends to do so with you. This gives you accountability partners who will help you keep up your exercise routine while giving you the socialization you need to stay healthy.
If you choose to meet up with friends, though, you should ensure they're taking the pandemic seriously. Although the virus travels a lot less well outdoors, people can still contract it outdoors. Yet, if your friends also take the virus seriously, keeping a physical distance from others and wearing masks and washing hands, your risk lowers.
Ready to Take Advantage of the Mental Health Benefits of Exercising Outdoors?
Are you curious about working out outdoors?
Exercising outside has many mental health benefits. It causes your body to produce mood-boosting chemicals, clear your head, fight SAD, lower blood pressure, and reminds you that the world is large.