Why you NEED to get outside and exercise more;
First of all, here’s a worrying statistic for you: Three quarters of us currently spend less time outside than the majority of prison inmates do! Wow!
If we look at the ‘average’ lifestyle, we can kind of see why this might not be such a crazy statistic: For the most of us, we wake up in our house, get into our cars to get to work, sit indoors at our desk all day, get back into our cars to go home, make dinner and chill in front of the television before going to bed and repeating all over again the next day. Little or no exercise completed, and next to no fresh air got! Sound remotely familiar?
If it does, then it’s time to forget about doing your exercise indoors and get yourself out in the fresh air. Here’s just some of the main reasons why
YOU BURN MORE CALORIES OUTSIDE
Think about it, when you train indoors, you are on even ground with no wind resistance to compete with. Outside, you have varying terrain and wind, amongst a host of other elements to contend with. Other muscles will need to be engaged to cope with the terrain and the increased resistance will also give you that extra challenge. Essentially then, training outside to achieve a fitness or weight-loss goal could be far more efficient than trying to achieve one, inside.
BEING OUTDOORS MAKES YOUR HAPPIER
It’s well documented that our levels of serotonin are increased when we are outside. Since serotonin (also knowns as the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter) plays a huge role in shaping our mental state and mood, the more we have, the better we feel!
BEING OUTDOORS HELPS TO REDUCE STRESS
The hormone, Cortisol is strongly associated to our stress levels. Those of us who have a higher percentage in the blood tend to experience higher levels of stress. Regular exposure to sunlight and being around green space has been shown to decrease our cortisol levels. It is no wonder that being outside is now very well linked to helping a person reduce and control their stress levels then.
VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE
I always recommend to people that they calculate what percentage of your time is spent indoors and outdoors. When doing this, most are surprised about just how little time is spent outdoors. The majority of us don’t spend nearly enough time outdoors, of which, at the very least, 20% of it should be. What’s yours?
HELPS IMPROVE QUALITY OF SLEEP
When trying to achieve a fitness goal, quality sleep is essential! The hormone Melatonin plays a big part in how well you sleep. The quantity of this hormone in the body is in-turn effected by our exposure to light, mostly sunlight. By limiting yourself to sunlight exposure could then in-turn effect just how good your shut eye really is!
IT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET YOUR VITAMIN D
A deficiency in Vitamin D is now recognised as a pandemic in the UK and is directly linked to spending too much time indoors and not enough time outside. A good balance of Vitamin D is essential for us all and the benefits are often undervalued. Low levels of vitamin D have been tied to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, depression and pregnancy complications. A good level of Vitamin D will not only help to prevent these but through aiding calcium absorption, will also help to maintain good bone and teeth health. Yes you can get good sources of Vitamin D from your food, but it’s far easier to maintain this through exposure to sunlight, than calculating your vitamin D intake through food alone!
IT IS LESS FAR LESS INTIMIDATING THAN IN A GYM
Exercising in a gym, especially when you are new to it can be extremely intimidating! Most gyms in Bristol are overcrowded and you’re never too far away from the next person. You may feel as though all eyes are on you, or might be afraid to try something new through fear that people will judge you. Although it’s true to say that people probably aren’t, if you think it, you believe it, and that’s that. Training outside is a very different experience to training inside a gym. Bristol is full of huge parks, and although other people do go to them, you’ll tend to find that there are areas within a park where you can have your very own private space. No eyes on you, no feeling uncomfortable, just an opportunity to get on with achieving your goal!
BRISTOL HAS SOME BEAUTIFUL PARKS
Covering the whole of Bristol, I was completely unaware of just how many parks there are in Bristol. In fact, there’s over 30 main ones, yep 30, not to mention countless other smaller green spaces. Some of the main ones include, Victoria Park, Page Park, Eastville Park, St Georges Park, Greville Smyth, Arnos Vale, Castle Park, St Annes, The Downs, Brandon Hill, St Andrews Park and Hengrove Park are all fantastic places to train with hills, benches, trees for attachment points and lots more. In most parks around Bristol there is a real friendly and community like feel, as well which just makes the whole experience, nice.
So there you have it, a very strong argument to convince you that outdoor training completely trumps indoor training. And if not to exercise, at least enough of an argument to get you outside more than you already are! Now go and enjoy the outdoors : )