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Health Benefits of the Outdoors

Posted Nov 29 2012 9:56pm

Guest post by Bethaney Wallace

Mother Nature has long since been a source of stress relief and relaxation. One that doesn’t come in a bottle or plastic wrapping. Whether a person is stepping outdoors, exercising, or practicing a holistic approach to, well, anything, nature has a way with changing our moods. Even during the winter, a stint in the sunlight can help provide energy and create an overall healthier persona.

But why? What’s the science behind this phenomenon?

Even when exercise isn’t involved, absorbing sun rays (which provide vitamin D-boosting abilities) is a proven health benefit. In small yet regular doses, sunlight can lead to an overall balanced lifestyle. Likewise, this is why foul moods can take place throughout the winter, when our bodies have been deprived of this factor. However, it’s important to ensure adequate sun protection is worn to avoid burns or overheating, even in the winter.

As for fresh air, it increases oxygen flow within the blood and can contribute to lung health as well. While indoor air is technically healthy, breathing outside air has an added scent of nature that wakens the body and provides medicine that man just can’t recreate.

Of course, to maximize these benefits, health nuts and athletes of all kinds have taken their work outs into nature itself. Whether practicing yoga, hiking, running, biking, or whatever other form of exercise, outdoor cardio time can greatly improve one’s health. Regular movement also improves muscle tone, boosts heart health, increases bone density, and lowers the risk for disease. In turn, these health benefits can reduce one’s weight, stabilize mental health, and level out blood pressure and risk for diabetes.

While some arguments can be made that many of these benefits will also come from working out indoors, scientists have found that athletes are more greatly benefitted when receiving fresh air and rays in the process.

From an afternoon bout in the sun to an outdoor yoga session, Mother Nature has more than a few health benefits to offer. Be sure to get your daily dose of the outdoors to help stay in prime health conditions.

Post provided by JANS.com , home to hiking and outdoor sports gear.

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