So if you want to feel better, just get outside: Try gardening, heading to the local woodland or going for a bike ride.
I stopped going to the gym years ago and use the great outdoors as my exercise class. Whilst I like to wander, and take photographs, I also generally power walk part of the way, and also look for steep banks or steps that I can run up and down.
I believe that exercising in nature has benefits that go above and beyond the benefits you gain by exercising indoors.
We all have an innate ability and requirement to move, this is ingrained in us from our evolutionary physiology, but we often think of exercise as only being good for our bodies. However, it can be just as good for our brains and our minds, and getting outside and exercising in nature might amplify the benefits.
Walking in nature improves measures of revitalisation, self-esteem, energy and pleasure, and decreases frustration, worry, confusion, depression, tension and tiredness far more than activity indoors does.
The other huge benefits of training in nature, or the ‘outdoor gym‘, are that movements can be a delightful combination of spontaneity, expression and of enhanced efficiency. This trio of concepts is very hard to achieve in the often-clinical environment of the gym or excessive controls of an indoor exercise class for example.
We’ve all been there, rushed into the gym for a quick workout, run out again completely mindless of the movements and exercise we have just done.
Movement and exercise are closely related yet often so far apart. For example in the gym we may jump on the x-trainer, rowing machine or treadmill. Yes, this gives us a sweat and we naturally feel better because of that. However are we really training quality movement, are we aware, awake….ALIVE to our senses and surroundings in this setting? Is it even possible?
Why do strong arms fatigue themselves with frivolous dumbbells? To dig a vineyard is worthier exercise for men. Marcus Valerius Martialis.