The summer is almost over and we are heading into fall. The air is getting cooler, the leaves are changing colors and beginning to drop off the trees, and the holiday season is approaching. This is one of my favorite times of year. It’s cool and crisp, energizing in its own unique way. But as things cool down and days grow shorter most of us begin to find ourselves indoors. The TV gets turned on, we keep ourselves cozy under the blanket, and we find we take more trips to the refrigerator.
It's easy to get caught up in the cycle of exercising in the summer and hibernating in the winter. We aren’t bears; we are meant to stay active no matter the season. Our ancestors did not have the luxury of central heating, a nice fireplace, or thermal underwear. They kept themselves moving all year-round, rain or shine…or snow. We may not be Neanderthals, but we aren’t that different when it comes to keeping healthy by staying active. There really is no better place to be active than outside.
Whether it be an easy jog around your block, hiking trails in the canyon, biking the road or the hills, or just taking the dogs for a walk, exercise outside is both beneficial and enjoyable.
We know most of you reading this blog already know the benefits of exercise, but do you know why doing exercise outdoors is important? We can give you several reasons to get outdoors and be active.
Fresh Air – It sounds almost cliché’, but how many times have you heard someone say, “I need to get outside to get some fresh air?” There’s good reason for that cliché. It’s simple, fresh air is good for us. Indoor air tends to not have a good balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. Plus, with poor ventilation bacteria and viruses accumulate. Outside air allows us to breathe in more oxygen and the increase in oxygen improves our circulation, increases mental focus and energy, decreases blood pressure, and even helps speed up the healing of injuries.
Cold Exposure- There has been a big trend over the past few years of improving health by exposing yourself to cold temperatures. Some of you may have heard of Wim Hof, the ‘Iceman,’ who has made his method of breathwork and cold exposure popular. There is a reason why this phenomenon is trending. It’s because there is a lot of science to show that cold can be really beneficial to your health. The benefits of cold exposure include improved brain function, burning more calories, enhanced immune function, reduces inflammation and increases the workload of the cardiovascular system when exercising. These are just a few of the benefits of the cold.
Sunlight – Vitamin D is not the only benefit the sun has to offer. When we exercise in the sun, we expose ourselves to infrared light which is naturally healing and is reparative to our tissues. The sun helps us regulate our internal rhythms which help us regulate our sleep and every cellular function of our body. The sun boosts our immune function by getting our body to produce Vitamin D. in fact, the sun stimulates over 1,000 different chemical processes inside our bodies. Remember, in order for the sun to be effective we need to have our eyes and skin exposed which means wearing less clothes, no sunglasses/glasses/contacts, and no sunscreen. It is important to be smart when in the sun by making sure to avoid sunburns.
Nature - Simply being outside helps our mood. There have been several studies that have shown that just being outside in nature can reduce anxiety and depression. The Japanese often perform ‘forest bathing’ which has become a popular cultural trend. Hiking in the wilderness or simply going outside to a park during the workday has become common because of its benefits in reducing stress.
Now that you have a few reasons to be outside to get exercise during the fall and winter make sure to follow through. We understand you may be a ‘gym rat’ and that you work out indoors but make some time to get outside. Those of you who tend to hibernate during the winter go outside for half an hour and go for a walk. Even going outside in the morning for ten minutes to see the early morning light and experience the crisp air can be enough to give you a jumpstart on your day.
Get outside. Get exercise. Get healthy.
At Body Evolution we love to get outside and let Nature help us heal. If you are looking to get back to a healthy lifestyle we can help. We not only help people rehab injuries, but we help people achieve their health and lifestyle goals. If you are ready to transform your life give us a call.
I'm just a guy helping active adults and athletes frustrated by nagging aches and pains naturally return to a healthy lifestyle.