“More than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, and more than 80% do not engage in enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines for youth,” according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Worldwide, however, 31.1% of adults are physically inactive. This decline can be attributed to technological advances and the digital revolution.
Working out within the comforts of home or hitting the gym a couple of times a week are typical ways that people get in their fitness regimes. But how about adapting one that utilizes the great outdoors, one that makes us one with nature?
The use of outdoor, natural environments for physical activity and health is nothing new. Still, it has been on a decline due to “rapid urbanization and nearly half of the world’s population living in urban areas and less green space.”
The science and benefits behind the power of nature and outdoor activity:
Studies have shown how ‘green health improves mental health’ and that the rewards of exercising amongst nature lead to ‘increased self-esteem and improved mood such as the reduction in anger. Outdoor activity conducted in a natural or green environment causes greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement.
All types of green exercise activities also improve self-esteem and reduce negative moods, such as tension, anger, and depression. The most significant impact on mood and self-esteem appears to occur within the first five minutes of green exercise, which suggests an immediate psychological health benefit, including heart rate and blood pressure. Engaging in physical activity outdoors also provides exposure to sunlight for sufficient vitamin D levels.
How to incorporate nature into your workout routine:
1. Take it slow and ease into it by going on a walk for at least 20 minutes a day.
2. It’s as easy as riding a bike. Take a trip around the block or to a park.
3. Strike a pose, pull back the layers, and do a little outside yoga.
4. If you’re a bit on the adventurous side, rock climbing, hiking, and rolling hills are a great alternative.
5. Take a trip to the mountains and take it down the slopes with skiing.
Wherever you are, don’t stress over the lack or abundance of green space. Utilizing parks or a weekend getaway allows you to explore, play, and stay fit and healthy.