When it comes to exercise, many people head straight to the gym, preferring to work their muscles on a treadmill or elliptical machine. While gyms are certainly useful and can give an athlete a head start on their fitness goals, nothing quite beats the benefits of nature. For those looking to improve their physical fitness, outdoor recreation can help boost both physical and emotional fitness and health, while also transforming exercise from a dull routine into a fun adventure. Here are five reasons everyone should head outside.
Outdoor recreation can often be physically demanding, but the sports work different muscles than those static machines at the gym. Instead of doing countless repetitions on a weight machine, try canoeing or go fishing with a friend. The motions of the sports work the arm and core stabilizer muscles in a different way, boosting the effectiveness of a gym workout and improving muscle tone and strength. Best of all, because the movements come with a healthy dose of fun, it won't feel like exercise!
Engage With Others
Working out in a gym is often a solitary activity. Headphones and televisions often keep people from interacting or conversing as they work out. Outside, whether it's on a hiking trail or at a golf course, people can talk to each other, turning a solitary activity into a social outing. Once the conversations start, many people find they have more in common with their fellow participants than they expected, resulting in new friendships and new connections.
Unplug From the Daily Grind
Technology is everywhere in daily life. At work, many tasks are completed on a computer, and at home, countless hours are devoted to the television. Heading outside for a walk or sitting in a park gives people the opportunity to unplug and relax. Rather than focusing on a screen, individuals can focus on watching the clouds or observe the way the leaves blow in the wind. Disconnecting from technology gives the mind a chance to rest and reset, reducing anxiety and stress associated with an on-demand society.
Better Sleep and Improved Focus
Anyone who is familiar with spending hours outside in the sun knows that at the end of the day, their body is tired. Outdoor recreation changes up the way the body moves, exercising new muscles and stimulating the mind. Physical activity helps the body relax and makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Well-rested individuals are better prepared to focus the next day and often see an improvement in the quality of their work.
Develop New Hobbies
Getting outside is a great way to discover new passions and hobbies. Go to a new place, hike a new trail, or play a new sport. Not only will the new experiences help cultivate a passion for the environment, but it will also give individuals an outlet outside of their usual hobbies.
Instead of heading to the gym for a solitary workout session, head outside, take a walk in nature, and breathe the fresh air!