With technology and information more and more of our time is spent inside. We travel from one box to the next. We sleep inside we eat inside we step into our cars and move to our next compartment all without going outside. There is a growing body of research showing the health benefits of being outside. Speeding the recovery from medical procedures and increasing energy levels to better mental clarity and longer attention span, the list of known benefits is compelling. Our modern lifestyle has developed to the point where going outside has become an “option”, the effects of this are just beginning to be understood.
The benefits of exercise can be summed up as putting more years in your life and more life in your years. The health effects are numerous and lack of exercise is being touted as one of the most significant factors in our burgeoning health care costs. The surgeon general is recommending at least 5 hours of physical activity each week, estimates are that 60% of us fall short of that minimum.
Spending time outside and exercise are both utilized as stress reduction techniques. Either one will boost energy levels and increase one’s sense of well being.
The combination is greater than the sum of its parts. Achieving two compatible necessities at once, time is saved. Outdoor exercise tends to encourage more complex movements often preformed on varied ground surfaces. This creates a greater development of coordination and the muscles which stabilize the body. Increased strength in movement has a better correlation to life’s challenges of carrying kids or running up the stairs than does the isolated muscle strength created through restricted movement patterns.
To get started just open the door and step out. Walk, hike, run, ride a bike, play with your kids, join a soccer league, train for a triathlon, join an outdoor boot camp… the choices are virtually endless. Combined with healthy eating habits you will not only gain health and vitality for yourself but set the example for your family and friends. Happy Trails!
I have started exercising regularly for about a year now- and I have really noticed the change in my overall fitness levels. Regular exercise is such a great thing-and like you say- it is as simple as stepping outside.