Spring has officially sprung! That means you can pack away the heaters; abandon the indoor gym equipment and start sweating it out in the sun. Yes – we know how hard it is to exercise without equipment, however, it’s not impossible. Not a fan of outdoor exercising? Well, we are here to change your mind! Let us take a look at the 5 benefits of exercising outside this spring.
Exercising in the heat will improve your ability to cool yourself. According to Johnson Fitness and Wellness exercising in hot conditions causes increased blood flow to your skin to cool your body down. Over time, you will adapt, becoming more responsive to the demands of workouts and competitive events through earlier sweating and increased circulation. This gives you an edge in competition and simply accomplishing more in your daily workouts. It can also make you more comfortable when you just want to get outside during the hotter months of the year.
It doesn’t cost anything. People often cite cost as one of the biggest factors prohibiting regular exercise. The outdoor environment provides a low-cost solution for exercise enthusiasts and trainers alike. While high gym or studio prices can act as a barrier to exercise, outdoor venues such as low-traffic neighbourhood streets and local parks offer free space for physical activity. Trainers can benefit from these spaces as well. A local permit and small fee is often all that’s needed to hold training sessions in public use areas, resulting in reduced overhead and increased earnings.
It can enhance your self-esteem. Research shows that as little as five minutes of outdoor exercise can improve self-esteem (Barton and Pretty, 2010). Any outdoor location will do, but being near greenery or water enhances this effect. Interestingly, low- to moderate-intensity physical activity show greater improvements in self-esteem than high-intensity outdoor exercise. Activities shown to improve self-esteem include walking, cycling, horseback riding, fishing, and gardening. A regular dose of outdoor activity can help boost the already powerful esteem-enhancing effect of exercise. 
Heat adaptation will produce quick improvements in fitness. Exercising in the heat increases the stress load of your training. When your body responds by increasing circulation and sweating, you become more efficient at working out across a range of temperatures and conditions. This means that you’re more likely to kill your next race or lifting session regardless of temperature and condition. You also experience these benefits quickly. As little as five sessions of high-temperature exercise are sufficient to lead to improvements in heart rate and sweat rate.
It will improve your mood and reduce depression. Exercising outside provides a mental health boost beyond that of indoor gyms. Moving outdoors has been shown to reduce anger, depression and improve mood (Barton and Pretty, 2010). Exposure to sunlight enhances vitamin D production, which may be partially responsible for this mood-enhancing effect (Kerr et al., 2015). You don’t have to run a marathon or crush an outdoor boot camp to reap the benefit. Even low-intensity activities, like walking or gardening, will do. For a quick afternoon pick-me-up, head outside for a 15-minute walk break, and return to work feeling energized.
We at Divine Ratio know how hard it is to get back into an exercise routine after a long cold winter, that’s why we decided to compile a list of the benefits associated with outdoor exercising to help you get back into your normal routine. Combine your new-found knowledge with any of our Divine Ratio products and you will get your desired results!
Head on to www.divineratio.co.za to learn more.
Barton, J. and Pretty, J. (2010). What is the best dose of nature and green exercise for improving mental health? A multi-study analysis. Environmental Science and Technology, 44, 10, 3947–3955.
Kerr, D.C. et al. (2015). Associations between vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms in healthy young adult women. Psychiatry Research, 227, 1, 46-51.