Exercise your love of nature

Exercise your love of nature

Research findings show there are benefits to mental and physical well-being from exercising outdoors in a natural environment over exercising indoors.

As anyone who shuns gym workouts for exercise in the great outdoors already knows, some recent research findings out of the UK tells us there are benefits to mental and physical well-being from exercising in the natural environment.

The researchers said that, compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments “was associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement; decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression; and increased energy.”

This was a large systemic review that looked at the data from 11 different studies involving 833 adults and analyzed several factors related to mental and physical well-being following exercise done indoors and exercise done outdoors in a natural environment.

The researchers also found that the participants who engaged in outdoor exercises reported “greater enjoyment and satisfaction” and that they were more likely to “repeat the activity at a later date.”

You may be lucky enough to live in an area where taking long aerobic walks in nature is as easy as walking a few minutes outside your neighbourhood. In the UK people have recognized that the increase in urban living is making it more and more difficult to find natural environments suitable for outdoor activity and have created programs called Green Gym (land-based) and Blue Gym (water-based) which combine outdoor activity with environmental stewardship.

To learn more about the health benefits of nature-loving activity in the great outdoors, read “Forest bathing” from the October 2011 issue of alive magazine.

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