Physical exercise does not have to be restricted to four walls. Whilst many may like to work out at a gym, others do not want to be confined to an indoor space. If you are one of these people, there is a very good alternative i.e., outdoor workouts! The following are a few mental health benefits of working out outdoors.
Connection with nature
When doing outdoor workouts, try to find a spot where you will be in nature e.g., in a park, or if you will be going for a walk or a run, choose a scenic route. Research shows that contact with nature increases serotonin and endorphins which are associated with having a good mood (Bratman et al., 2019).
If you work in an office setting where you already have to spend so many hours indoors, working out in an outdoor space can give you a sense of freedom where you can move around without being confined to one space. This can increase the level of consistency as you may start to realise that your favourite part of the day is outdoor exercise time and you look forward to it.
Do you feel like you never have time to fit all the things that you want in a day? Exercising, meeting friends, and having a conversation with your partner could be some of these activities. Including friends and family in your outdoor exercise routine could be a way to hit two birds with one stone. Go for a walk with your loved ones where you will be getting your physical exercise done and also have the time to catch up on your day with them. When we spend time with loved ones, we tend to feel good because human connections create a sense of well-being.
When doing outdoor workouts choose a place that makes you feel at peace. This will help you to release the stress and tension that you build throughout the day. Maybe you can start the day by exercising to set a positive tone for the day or in the evening where you use this activity to unwind. Maybe you can choose a time where you see a sunrise or sunset which tends to create a lot of peace just by looking at them.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Dr Marilyn Muscat is registered as an Educational Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom where she trained. She works with children, adolescents and their families to understand more about educational, social and emotional well-being concerns that they have and to help them improve upon their difficulties. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.
Bratman, G. N. et al., (2019). Nature and mental health: An ecosystem service perspective. Science Advances, 5(7). https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aax0903