(I found this blog on Wisdompills today and wanted to share with you. I really do believe that exercising outdoors is exhilarating..especially as we hit the mid-life journey. Exercising outdoors gets the endorphines going and that is so important as we battle our hormonal ups and downs. Please read and enjoy! )
As you make your way to the gym for your daily, weekly – or for some of us, monthly – workout, take a moment to consider an outdoor exercise routine instead. I have been known to buy ten-card passes to a local gym and although undoubtedly pulling and lifting weights is good for my muscle strength and flexibility, I realized I enjoyed the ride on my bicycle to the gym and back more than the time spent in the gym itself. Crowded facilities, the intense concentration of people completing their workout in near silence and the sweaty, humid atmosphere is not always that appealing.
In contrast, the enjoyment I get from the sharp fresh air of winter, seeing trees springing to life early in the year, flowers in bloom in the summer or the mulchy smell of leaves in the autumn is irreplaceable. Every time I walk into the woods I’m known to exclaim how lovely ‘the smell of oxygen’ is. (Of course I’m not really smelling oxygen, but I’m aware of the superior quality of the air, the scents of the forest and how calm and at peace I feel after a walk.)
It’s encouraging, then, to hear of growing evidence pointing to the benefits of ‘green exercise’, something we seem to be intuitively aware of. If you can get outside, incorporating nature into your exercise routine has the potential to make you feel healthier physically, mentally and emotionally. And if that sounds like something that appeals to you, then here are five reasons to ditch that gym and head for the woods
1) It clears the mindIt’s been reported that twenty minutes outdoors is as good as a cup of coffee. Deep breathing promotes the release of brain chemicals that help us feel happier and more relaxed whilst delivering vital oxygen and nutrients to our body tissues. The result: greater mental clarity and energy levels. You won’t find that quality of air in a stuffy, often overheated gym where everyone else is breathing the same air as deeply as you as they pound along on the treadmill.
When you can think more clearly — when you’re engaged in green exercise — the manifest irritants and distractions that invade our thoughts fall away and problem solving seems to come easier. I rarely finish a run or walk in the woods or by the ocean without feeling my mind has relaxed and become calm enough to tackle the rest of the day with renewed vigour. And there are very real benefits to inhaling the ‘clearing’ essences of pine or fir or the calming and uplifting scents of summer flowers.
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