We are counting down the days to the official start of spring and don’t have much longer to wait for its arrival. Spring officially begins on March 20, 2022, marking the start of an exciting season to revamp your exercise routine by taking it outside.
Spending time outdoors is not only fun, it also packs some proven health benefits, like the following…
Head Outside for a Health Boost
By taking your workout routine (or starting one) outside, you’ll treat your body — and mind — to some serious perks.
- Control your blood pressure: recent research out of Japan shows that being outside not only decreases cortisol, the stress hormone and culprit behind unwanted weight gain and elevated blood pressure, it can also help lower your blood pressure. Japanese researchers advocate shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing for this very reason. A brisk walk — even for ten minutes, three times a day — is an easy routine to help you get outside and reap these benefits.
- Take a stand against cancer: a walk in the woods might actually help you lower your risk of developing cancer. Sounds too good to be true? Thank the phytoncides — the fragrant compounds produced by plants, which are attributed to the increase in white blood cells that strengthen your immune system. Known as “killer cells,” research has shown that walking in a forest for two consecutive days increases these cells by 50% and their immune-boosting activity by 56%. Even better news? That activity remained at these increased levels for an entire month thereafter.
- Nature is nice to your brain: “Nature becomes a major distraction from all the stresses of life,” according to Dr. Pamela Peeke, a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. And we’ve got research to prove it. Compared to walking in a city, strolling through a natural setting supports mental health, with participants demonstrating less brain activity in those areas connected to depression.
One of the real advantages of taking your fitness routine outside comes down to cost. Unlike gym memberships, anyone can get outside for free, which makes the health benefits universally available to all.
Speaking of all, be sure to invite friends or family along with you — doing so increases accountability and helps support socioemotional bonds, which are also integral to optimal health.
There is nothing quite like a massage to reward your efforts when it comes to exercise and well-being. Contact us to get on our calendar this season!