Outdoor Exercise Benefits and Safety Tips: Your Guide
May 5th, 2023 by Catherine Marqueses
Outdoor exercise is a great way to get fresh air, sunlight, and exercise all at the same time. It is a fun way to stay fit and healthy while enjoying the beauty of nature. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of outdoor exercise and how to safely enjoy it.
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The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise
Outdoor exercise has numerous benefits for the body and mind. Here are some of the benefits of outdoor exercise:
Increased Vitamin D Intake
Exercising outdoors exposes you to sunlight, which is a natural source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for bone health, immune function, and mental health. It helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are important for bone strength. Vitamin D also helps regulate mood and may reduce the risk of depression. However, it is important to note that excessive sun exposure can also increase the risk of skin cancer. It is recommended to get 10-30 minutes of sun exposure per day, depending on your skin type and location. It is also recommended to wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
Improved Mood and Mental Health
Exercising outdoors can have a positive impact on your mental health and well-being. Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, while improving mood and cognitive function. The fresh air, natural surroundings, and exposure to sunlight during outdoor exercise can also help boost your mood and increase levels of Vitamin D, which is essential for bone health, immune function, and mental health. Additionally, outdoor exercise provides a change of scenery from the indoor environment, which can help reduce feelings of monotony and boredom associated with indoor exercise. So, if you’re looking to improve your mental health and well-being, consider taking your workouts outdoors!
Variety of Terrain and Environments
Exercising outdoors provides a variety of terrain and environments to explore. You can go for a hike in the mountains, run on the beach, bike through a forest, jog around a lake, or take a walk in a park. You can also vary your workouts by changing the time of day you exercise outdoors. For example, you can go for a morning run or bike ride to start your day off on the right foot, or you can take a relaxing walk in the park at sunset to unwind after a long day. Whatever your preference, outdoor exercise offers a wide range of options to keep your workouts fun, challenging, and engaging.
How to Safely Enjoy Outdoor Exercise
While outdoor exercise is a great way to stay fit and healthy, it is important to do it safely. Here are some tips for safely enjoying outdoor exercise:
Wear Proper Clothing and Footwear
Wearing appropriate clothing and footwear is important for staying safe and comfortable while exercising outdoors. Choose clothing that is lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking to help keep you cool and dry. Avoid wearing cotton, as it can trap sweat and make you feel uncomfortable. Instead, opt for synthetic materials that are designed for athletic wear. Make sure to wear comfortable, supportive shoes that are appropriate for the terrain you will be exercising on. If you plan on hiking or trail running, wear shoes with good traction and ankle support. If you plan on biking, wear shoes that are compatible with your bike’s pedals. By wearing the right clothing and footwear, you can help prevent injuries and enjoy your outdoor workouts to the fullest.
Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. Bring a water bottle with you and make sure to take regular water breaks. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and other health problems, so it is important to stay hydrated while exercising outdoors. The amount of water you need depends on various factors, such as the intensity of your workout, the weather, and your body weight. It is recommended to drink 17-20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before your workout, and then another 7-10 ounces every 10-20 minutes during your workout. After your workout, drink at least 8 ounces of water to rehydrate your body and help with muscle recovery.
Protect Your Skin
Apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes. It is also recommended to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to provide additional protection from the sun. If you are exercising during peak sun hours (10 am-4 pm), try to find shaded areas to exercise in to reduce your exposure to the sun. Finally, be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently if you are sweating heavily or swimming.
Outdoor exercise provides numerous benefits for the body and mind. It is a fun and effective way to stay fit and healthy while enjoying the beauty of nature. With these tips, you can safely enjoy the great outdoors and make the most of your workouts. So, grab your running shoes, water bottle, and sunscreen, and head outside for your next workout!