February 15, 2017

The Mental and Physical Benefits of Outdoor Recreation and Exercise

           As technology improves, we seem to find more reasons to avoid stepping outside into the fresh air. Even though it’s possible to exercise inside a gym with an elliptical or running on a treadmill, outdoor exercise still has many beneficial factors that cannot be replaced by an indoor substitution. No matter how well-equipped your local gym is, an outdoor workout is going to be more strenuous to your body; for instance, you flex your ankles more when running outside because of the occasional uphill and downhill gradients that accompany uneven terrain. You also use more energy because of wind resistance and changes in elevation.

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Here are several physical and mental benefits to exercising in the natural environment:

Physical Benefits

1.      You gain stronger bones: Vitamin D helps increase the strength of bones and your body produces it when exposed to sunlight. This can help with the growth process in children. In addition to this, sunlight can lower both blood pressure and cholesterol while boosting your immune system.
2.      People who exercise in the fresh air tend to be more successful with weight loss and being able to burn body fat. This can lead to less depression.
3.      The likelihood of wanting to continue exercising outside is increased. An indoor exercise routine can eventually become lackluster, which is why home treadmills end up attracting dust.
4.      Fresh air can be just as revitalizing as drinking caffeine, so an early morning workout will lead to a more active work day.
5.      Most popular sports can be played outside as well such as basketball, soccer, football and baseball. Sports are an excellent workout as they encompass both physical and mental effort as well as activating your competitive spirit.

Mental Benefits

1.      Exercise improves your attention span, increases focus and boosts concentration.
2.      Decreased stress, anger, depression and confusion.
3.      Leads to higher confidence and self-esteem.
4.      The brain’s overall performance is increased, improving learning, decision-making and information retention. Studies have proven that student s perform better on test after exercise.
5.      Devoting time to exercise can divert efforts from other activities such as addictions. Many people find it easier to kick a bad habit if they replace it with a few miles of running.
6.      Drastically reduces anxiety especially if done after work.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that, “every natural action is graceful.” For too many years we have been trying to use technology as a wholesale replacement of outdoor exercise. Now that we have the equipment to do it, people are still in no hurry to get on those machines and put in the time required. Utilizing the natural environment that surrounds us all is simply a no-brainer, so give outdoor exercise a chance!

            The VersaCourt staff is proud to support the importance of outdoor exercise and recreation. With a large variety of courtyards to choose from to make your own, Versacourt.com promotes healthy outdoor activity and living.

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