4 Benefits of Outdoor Exercises

Is your exercise plan in need of a kick-start? Searching for ways to reinvigorate your fitness routine? Now is the time to skip the gym and head outdoors. Warmer temperatures and plenty of sun will give everyone a good reason to run, bike or walk the neighborhood parks and paths. The benefits are substantial. Runners and skiers who have maintained an outdoor fitness habit can use these transitional days to help acclimate their bodies to warmer temperatures.

Those who have stayed indoors during the winter will enjoy the change in scenery and escape from the long lines and stale environment at the health club. Local business owner Curt Bowen notes that Americans, on average, spend 90 percent of their lives indoors, and that number increases with age. Bowen, the owner and operator of several Complete Nutrition stores in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, adds that all exercisers take advantage of key benefits when they head outside.

Increased Activity Level

While exercising indoors is valuable, research shows that exercising outside requires more energy, forcing our bodies to get better workouts and burn added calories and fat. Outdoor elements such as increased temperature, wind and hills provide a natural resistance and make our bodies work harder and burn more calories.

Improved Mental Health

It is well-documented that light affects mood. So take advantage of the sunshine during the spring and summer months by getting outdoors as often as possible.

Vitamin D

Also known as the "sunshine vitamin," Vitamin D offers significant immune-boosting benefits and added protection from osteoporosis, some forms of cancer and heart disease.

Variety

Outdoor exercise allows you to change your routine daily and the options—from walking, running, swimming, biking, playing soccer, jumping rope, or other outdoor sports—are almost endless.

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Minneapolis Fitness Examiner Malia Frey is a 20 year veteran of the fitness industry having taught fitness, dance, and physical education classes at health clubs, colleges, universities, hospitals and corporate fitness centers around the country.

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