If you're bored with the gym, lacking motivation to exercise, or simply finding exercise too much like hard work, then the great outdoors may be the perfect antidote. You don't need a national park on your doorstep to enjoy the great outdoors: countryside; forests; seaside; parks; and even gardens offer the same positive benefits to your exercise programme. The great outdoors has been central to human evolution and yet, the growth of urban living has driven many into to hiding when it comes to exercise. For the sake of our physical, mental and social health, it's time to go green again, and here are 10 reason why:
1. Variety is the Spice of Life: One of the key reasons why taking your exercise green is the fun factor associated with the changing environment meaning that no two sessions are the same. From changing your route to changing your exercising buddy, or the changing seasons, there are so many ways to create a new exercise experience.
2. The wait is over: The one thing you won't see in your outdoor gym is queues. Avoiding the wait for equipment allows you to optimize your work out and make better use of your time.
3. Surrounded by nature: Just by taking your session into the natural environment leads to higher energy levels and leaves you feeling more revitalised. Research has demonstrated better health is linked to green space.
4. Harder is the new easier! Research as demonstrated that you are significantly more likely to work harder outdoors: Interestingly, participating in green exercise activities alters the perception of effort resulting in a greater intensity of exercise without the perception of effort changing.
5. Give me more: Increased frequency of exercise: The reduced perception of effort combined with the enhanced enjoyment of green exercise evidence suggests that you are much more likely to exercise more often and for longer.
6. Healthy Mind: Green exercise is associated with improvements in self-esteem, reduced stress and improved mood linked to decreased tension, confusion, anger and depression. Green space is happy space.
7. Money in the bank: The great outdoors is free. That's right, no expensive joining fee, no monthly payments, and no hidden extras. In addition, it's open 24/7 and doesn't require Lycra.
8. Happy Days (and nights): Outdoor exercisers report greater enjoyment and satisfaction which increases the endorphin related psychological benefits of exercise compared to indoor exercise.
9. The friendly games: The outdoors brings greater opportunity for socialising; rather than running in isolation on a treadmill you can run along and chat with as many friends as your breathing rate will allow.
10. Bring me sunshine: Exercising outdoors provides exposure to sunlight which is crucial for the production of vitamin D. Low levels of Vitamin D have a negative effect the body i.e. strength, and mind i.e. mood. The great outdoors offers drug and cost free treatment that will enhance your quality of life all year round.
Greg is a brand ambassador at Merrell UK.