GET OUTSIDE

Well, what a winter we’ve had! It’s been long, cold, snowy, wet and very windy. But the other day, a large, yellow, warm circle appeared in the sky. The weather battered faces of Yorkshire man everywhere looked up at this yellow ball and felt the heat on their faces. Finally, spring has arrived. So how can we use this change of season to make ourselves healthier and fitter? Get some outdoor exercise of course!

But what are the benefits of training outside compared to your local gym? Well, firstly it’ll improve your mood. Studies have shown that exercising outdoors gives participants a greater feeling of revitalisation. You’ll have more energy and less tension, anger and chances of feeling down. You’re also more likely to enjoy the activity and do it again. Most of us regardless of what fitness or activity level we are at, have felt the feeling of joy at being outside, breathing in fresh air with the sun on our backs. We’ve marvelled at nature when seeing a horse galloping by or waves crashing on a rocky shore. I for one really enjoy being outside with my kids on long walks and seeing their faces when finding something they haven’t seen before or exploring strange holes in the ground that go to who knows where!

Speaking of kids, the benefits of outdoor exercise for them has also been looked at. Another study looked at what benefit there would be if children were shown images of nature during exercise. They found that the children viewing those images had lower blood pressure than those who didn’t. Lower blood pressure is associated with a lower risk of developing heart problems later in life. And if they benefited by just looking at images on a screen, surely they’d get even more benefit by actually being outside!

Speaking of kids, the benefits of outdoor exercise for them has also been looked at. Another study looked at what benefit there would be if children were shown images of nature during exercise. They found that the children viewing those images had lower blood pressure than those who didn’t. Lower blood pressure is associated with a lower risk of developing heart problems later in life. And if they benefited by just looking at images on a screen, surely they’d get even more benefit by actually being outside!
But how much outdoor exercise do we need to get that energy boost, health improving fix? Well, it might be shorter than you think. Just 5 minutes of exercise outside has been shown to have a positive effect on your mental health. Great news for all those with full diaries! Any exercise in the presence of nature will work. Gardening, going for a walk in the woods, horse riding, sailing, literally anything as long as your doing it in a natural environment.
Finally, if you hate the gym it might not be your fault. It might be in your genes! The effectiveness of any fitness regime depends on how much you enjoy it and therefore stick at it. Loads of people hate the idea of going into a gym surrounded by medieval torture equipment disguised as something that’s meant to make you strong. Others like it. If you are a creative person who enjoys working with new ideas, then your much more likely to enjoy being outside doing activities such as running or cycling. Remember not one size fits all when it comes to keeping fit and healthy, try out different things and see what suits you.
So get outside and get on track to a fitter you!

#BaronsFitness