Tired, stressed, and burned out? What you need is a dose of freshness, time away from the noise of the city, and a picturesque view of greens and blues. In other words, you need to be outdoors. Spending time outdoors has a lot of benefits not only to your physical health but also to your mental and emotional well-being.
Exposure to sunshine is necessary to give you a dose of vitamin D for calcium absorption and bone health. Sunshine also helps combat symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and boosts your mood. Outdoor air quality, especially in the wilderness, is way better than indoors. So what are you waiting for? Try these fun and exciting outdoor activities to keep active and stay fit.
Are you fond of visiting new places and meeting new people? If so, then cycling is the ideal outdoor activity for you. Cycling requires you to travel long distances. Along the way, you get to visit and explore places you’ve never been to before.
Although it can be a solo activity, cycling is best done in groups. You can join a club, meeting people with the same hobbies, and organize cycling tours. Riding with your mates is not just more fun but also safer.
Cycling trains the body, strengthening the lower muscles—your quads, calves, and hamstrings. Biking is also a great cardio workout. It raises your heart rate, burns a lot of calories, promotes better heart health without putting too much stress on your joints.
Another benefit to cycling is that there are a lot of prestigious competitions that you can join to help motivate yourself. And if you want to improve your cycling performance, there are tools such as bicycling power meters and fitness trackers to help you train and monitor your progress.
A bicycle, even a used one, can be quite pricey. If you’re on a tight budget but still want to engage in an outdoor activity to stay active, you can try hiking. Hiking is an excellent aerobic workout. It exercises the mind and the body.
Walking through rough terrain and long distances trains your muscles and bones while being in nature, surrounded by all the greenery, helps loosen the tension in your body, relax the mind, lowers blood pressure, and regulates stress levels.
The Japanese have this activity called shinrin yoku, which means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” Shinrin yoku entails a range of physical activities or exercises, done at a slow and steady pace, in a natural area. Hiking or walking in nature is one example.
Some people like to stay slow and steady, so they enjoy hiking. But for people who enjoy fast-paced activities, running is the better choice. It’s a low-cost workout with high-level benefits. Running is excellent for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
On the physical side, running helps fortify bones and muscles, promote cardiovascular health, burn a lot of calories, and build strength, endurance, and balance. Running is also beneficial to your mental health and faculties. Several studies have found positive effects of running on patients with clinical depression.
Many runners also report experiencing what they call a “runner’s high,” which is a state of euphoria when feelings of anxiety, tiredness, and pain are almost entirely shut off. Whether you experience a runner’s high or not, running in nature is an excellent activity to decompress, relax, and rejuvenate the mind.
Some people like to keep their feet firmly on the ground, but others have a special affinity with water. If you’re one of the latter, then kayaking may be a more suitable outdoor activity for you. Kayaking is a safe (just stay away from the rapids) and low-impact exercise with several physical and mental benefits.
It’s an excellent workout for your upper body and core and helps build your arms, back, shoulders, and chest while improving your balance. Kayaking also promotes better heart health.
Kayaking is also a meditative activity. On the water, you can get away from the noise and distractions of the city, reflect on your thoughts and experiences, and let go of your worries and anxieties.
Swimming is one of the most popular (and fun!) outdoor activities to keep yourself active. And it does wonders to the body and the mind too. Swimming provides a full-body workout without stressing your joints and muscles.
It turns up your heart rate, tones your muscles, and trains your strength, stamina, and flexibility. Plus, holding your breath underwater helps increase your lung capacity and boost respiratory health.
Swimming outdoors where the water is cold forces your body to adjust to changing temperatures by producing more white blood cells, which helps boost your immune system. Swimming in cold water also improves blood circulation, burns calories faster, and lets your body produces more endorphins.
A 2018 research has also found that swimming regularly can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety or depression. Swimming lets you temporarily forget and escape from your worries and stresses and relax your mind.
The great outdoors have more than great views and Instagram-worthy photos to offer you. There are both physical and psychological benefits of spending time outdoors. Being outdoors pushes you to be physically active, which then exercises your body, builds your bones, strengthens your muscles, and improves your overall physical health.
Time outdoors, away from the noise and distraction of daily life, is essential for coping with stress and maintaining your mental health. With that said, give yourself a much-needed break, and bask in the healing powers of nature.