Spending time in the outdoors is good for you. It helps you de-stress, improves your memory, lowers your heart rate and cortisol levels, reduces inflammation, and helps eliminate fatigue. If you’ve been feeling down and under lately (without actually being sick), you need a dose of vitamin nature to uplift your mood, rejuvenate your body, and refresh your mind. Try these fun outdoor activities to stay healthy—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Yoga gives a lot of benefits to your body. It makes you more flexible, tones your muscle, does wonders to your posture, and strengthens your cartilage and joints. But you know what’s better than yoga? Doing yoga outdoors.
Sure, you can do yoga indoors at the local gym or in your very own living room. But outdoors, amid nature, you can breathe in fresh air, soak in the peace and quiet, and be surrounded by relaxing greens. With every pose, you can shed the tension in your muscles and worries plaguing your mind and just get in the zone.
Cycling is an outdoor activity that’s gaining more momentum in the country. Health- and environment-conscious individuals are leaving their cars at home and taking their bicycles when they go out to stay fit and lessen greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming and climate change.
If you want to shed off some pounds, cycling is the perfect exercise for you. It doesn’t hurt the muscle and joints. Cycling works out your lower body, strengthening your quads, calves, and hamstrings. It’s great for the heart too.
Cycling requires maintaining your balance while pedaling and steering, a task that practices your focus and coordination. Going for a ride on your bike also helps relieve stress and improve your mood. Plus riding outdoors is infinitely more entertaining than staying cooped up in the gym or in your home.
Additionally, cycling allows you to explore different places and meet new people, which keeps things interesting. You can also join cycling races to challenge yourself. If you do so, you may want to consider getting a reliable bike power meter to keep track of your performance and train yourself.
Hiking is an aerobic workout that works wonders to both the body and mind. Going on a nature walk decreases your risk of heart disease, helps with your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, builds your muscle, boosts bone density, and increases your endurance as you step up the challenge. Plus it’s an excellent exercise for those who want to lose weight.
If you’re feeling restless, mentally exhausted, or stuck, hiking outdoors can clear your mind, calm your worries, and spark your creativity. It’s the ideal exercise for those who want to be fit while being mentally stimulated.
There’s something about being in the water, whether you’re in it or on top of it, that’s incredibly relaxing. If you’re looking for a water exercise that’s not swimming, kayaking or paddling can be the next best thing.
Kayaking is a safe outdoor activity (as long as you wear a life jacket for kayaking and don’t dive into the rapids) that exercises your upper body and core. It builds up the muscles in your arms, back, shoulders, and chest, as well as improves your balance. It’s also beneficial to your cardiovascular health.
Paddling on the water has a calming effect. It reduces your anxiety levels. Moreover, in the middle of a large body of water, there’s little to no distractions, which is more conducive to reflection.
If you think nature walks are not physically demanding enough, try running outdoors to up the ante. Running is marvelous for keeping fit. Regular running significantly improves your heart’s health. According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, running five minutes every day could lengthen your life by a few years.
Running also builds up your lower body muscles, joints, and bones. The findings of an eight-year study published in the journal of Arthritis Care & Research reports that running frequently decreases a person’s risk of suffering from knee pain or osteoarthritis.
But that’s not all the benefits you get from running. The activity has also been found to stave off cognitive decline related to age, fortifies the brain against stress, and alleviate symptoms of depression.
Aside from being fun, swimming does wonders to your whole body. For one, swimming tones your muscles and elevates your heart rate while lessening the strain on your body, preventing injuries. It also boosts your strength, endurance, and flexibility. Holding your breath when you swim also exercises your lungs, increasing its capacity.
Swimming outdoors also has several amazing benefits. Cold water improves your immune system by forcing your body to adapt to changing conditions, increasing your white blood cell count. It also helps boost blood circulation, burns calories, and gives you an endorphin rush.
Mountain climbing is the ideal outdoor activity for those who want to be challenged physically and mentally. The exercise requires more endurance, strength, and coordination than hiking or running since the activity entails longs hours of traversing rough, likely perilous paths.
Due to the higher physical demand, mountain climbing allows you to burn calories faster, tone and fortify muscles, and strengthen bones. It also improves your balance, flexibility, and stamina by leaps and bounds.
Mountain climbing is also excellent for your mental and emotional health. Climbing a mountain, whatever the difficulty level, is a feat that not everyone can do. Pushing through your physical limits and conquering your fears to reach the peak of a mountain rewards you with a great sense of achievement, which helps boosts your self-esteem and confidence.
Overcoming challenges your encounter when mountain climbing also helps you become more resilient and resourceful.
The Importance of Self-Care
Health is wealth, but in a person’s quest to get more of everything—money, fame, power, or success—it’s often the first thing that is compromised. Money, fame, power, and success may be important, but they won’t buy you your health and sanity.
Give yourself the chance to breathe, reflect, and be present in your own life. Your health is not any less important than your deadlines, goals, and other people’s expectations as well as your own. Spend a weekend in the outdoors to exercise your body and rejuvenate your mind. Prioritize yourself, and take care of your health.