Now that spring is officially here, the weather is finally warming up for most of us in the U.S. The best part: It’s not nearly as hot as it’ll eventually get in the summer months, which means it’s the perfect time of year to take your workouts outdoors.
Not only are views of leafy trees, mountain ranges, or a lake much more enticing than starting at a stranger’s sweaty back in the gym, but outdoor workouts can also benefit your body in many ways. Below, a few advantages you’ll enjoy after working out in the fresh air:
- You’ll feel less stressed—almost instantly. Who doesn’t take a big, deep breath the moment you step into the great outdoors? That sense of relief isn’t just in your head: Spending time in nature can lead to a more relaxed, less stressful state of mind. All it takes is 15 minutes of walking outside to reduce stress and anxiety, research shows.
- You’ll feel happier. If you’re feeling blue, green space can do you some good. Studies suggest that people who spend more time in nature feel an improved sense of well-being in their lives.
- You’ll be more creative. Need a boost before a brainstorming meeting? In one study, people who walked outside came up with higher-quality and more creative ideas than people who stayed indoors.
- You’ll perform better at work. The great outdoors can also help you maintain your focus at work: Walking in nature can help improve your attention span as well as your performance on tests.
- You’ll burn more calories. You’ll burn 3 to 7% more calories when you run, jog, or walk outside, since you’re using only your own body to propel you off the ground, rather than relying on a treadmill or other equipment to set the pace.
- You might live longer. Research shows that the health benefits of living close to nature, from reduced inflammation to lower blood pressure, can lead to longer lifespans.
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Need more inspo? Here are a few fun ways to take your workout outside.
- Take a hike. No mountains nearby, or live in a city? Even an urban hike (pick a path with hills!) counts.
- Plant a spring garden. Every time you bend down is kind of like a squat, making gardening a strength and aerobic workout in one.
- Find an outdoor bootcamp. Look at Facebook or Meetup.com to see what kind of outdoor fitness classes are offered in your area. Want to go it alone? Check out this 30-minute bodyweight workout you can do anywhere!
- Look for a yoga class in a local park. Many times, yoga studios will offer outdoor classes in the spring months.
- Go for a stroll around a lake or by a river. Being around bodies of water can provide an extra calming effect on your mind.
- Commute on a bike. If you live close enough to work, use two wheels to drive to the office instead of four. We guarantee it’ll be more fun than getting stuck in traffic in your car.