The benefits of getting regular exercise are numerous and well known, and more attention is being paid to the power of simple movement, such as walking. Indeed intense, heart pounding workouts are absolutely incredible for both our hearts and physical fitness, but we shouldn’t underestimate the power of simply getting up and moving.
Not that we need an excuse to get outside to enjoy the beautiful fall weather, but we’ve got some extra motivation for you! Taking movement outdoors could be even better for your health. Getting outside a few times a day not only forces you to break out of the normal cycle of your day, it actually affects your stress response – which we could all use a pause button for. As it turns out, science shows that some fresh air really will do you good.
Outdoor movement is enjoyable and may even be addictive. Creating an exercise habit is difficult, but finding something simple you enjoy makes it easier to come back to. If you have an afternoon break time habit of say, a latte or a cookie, especially on a stressful day, try switching it out for a 15 minutes afternoon walk. The shot of pleasure you get from getting fresh air can quickly become a habit.
Benefits for the body:
- Exercise leads to an increase in natural killer cells, neutrophils and monocytes, these ultimately lead to better immune function. Goodbye frequent colds!
- Fresh oxygen energizes: research shows that spending time in fresh air increases energy in 90 percent of people. Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with fresh air.
- Canadian researchers found women reaped more physical benefits from outdoor walking vs. indoor walking.
- When we’re outside we get vitamin D, which strengthens bone health, boosts metabolic function, helps you sleep better at night, improves immune function and increases ‘endorphins’ – those feel-good hormones we like to keep in production.
Benefits for the mind:
- Even a short walk can calm the mind, provide a mental break, and give your body a chance to recharge.
- Evidence from the University of Essex says that outdoor exercise can improve self-esteem.
Research shows that spending time in fresh air increases energy in 90 percent of people.