3 Positive Benefits to Exercising Outside

At True North Candle Forge, we believe that we have been given this planet to enjoy, and that proper stewardship of this gift ensures that the wonders surrounding us will be enjoyed for generations to come. One amazing aspect of the natural environment is the fact that the more time you spend outside the greater it positively effect’s you. While the actual positive effects are quite literally innumerable, here are three positive effects that you will be able to see if you start exercising outdoors.

NOTE: Please ensure you practice proper social distancing and all personal protective measures through the remainder of this current pandemic.

  1. Improved Physique:

Going outside and breathing fresh air has an enormous positive effect on your body. The air quality in even the best gymnasium is a poor substitute of going outside and breathing fresh air. Exercising in the great outdoors can burn calories at a less intensity than the same exercises performed in a gym. Fluctuations in temperature, elevation, and air density are just some of the things influencing how intensely your body reacts. The more opportunities you take to increase your exposure to sunlight results in higher levels of Vitamin D. These two factors have shown a direct correlation to improved self-esteem*. If you share this time with someone, the interpersonal bond between you intensifies and your enjoyment deepens. The more you enjoy your outdoor activity, the better you will eat in order to continue your chosen activity. The better you eat, the more efficient you become at burning calories, which sheds body fat and enhances your physical appearance.

  1. Improved Focus and Sleep

It has been determined that as little as 5 minutes of outside activity can enhance mental sharpness and boost mood*. The longer the activity raises the potential improvements to these two important quality of life issues. Two interesting things that affect these mental enrichments are 1. Moderate intensity has the same effect, or better, than high intensity activity, and 2. Proximity to water, greenery, trees, etc. intensifies the effect. A 2015 study supports the claim that Vitamin D is directly linked to amplifying your mood**. All of these increased physical activities and positive side effects lead to an improved sleep quality. There is a vast difference to being physically tired from a hike, canoe, run, or climb, rather than the fatigue from traffic, alcohol consumption, watching television late into the night, or stress over tomorrow morning’s meeting. When you go to bed tired from physical activity, your body releases a variety of hormones and chemicals which aide in performing a series of repair functions. These functions are minimized, inhibited, or completely blocked by an excess of stress hormones. This alone improves your sleep quality, in turn improving your mental acuity, focus, and mood.

  1. Easily Accessible:

Arguably the single biggest benefit of exercising and being active outside is the ease of access. You literally just need to go out your front door and you are reaping the benefits. The second greatest benefit is the extremely low cost associated with this type of activity. Unless you are trying to get into an extremely specific activity (i.e. rock climbing, mountaineering, scuba diving, skydiving, etc.) it does not matter what number shows on your bank statement, the kind of car you drive, how big or small is your house, or what you do for work. Adventure and enjoyment of the great outdoors is truly one the great equalizers. It does not matter if you live in the mountains, at the beach, or on a farm, or if the environment consists of snow, rain, fog, or sun. If you have the appropriate clothes to get to and from work, you have the ability to go outside and enjoy the world around you.

 

These three benefits are available to anyone who is willing to pursue activity in the natural environment. Being a good steward of your environment means you must be responsible when you venture into its environs. There is absolutely nothing wrong with preferring to engage in your activity alone. If you do venture out solo, you must inform at least one other person of your plan (i.e. location, route, time of departure and estimated time of return, contact information, and clothing description).

On a personal note, I would like to wish Kendal (daughter # 3) a wonderful, healthy, and very Happy 24th Birthday!

*Barton, J. and Pretty, J. (2010). What is the best dose of nature and green exercise for improving mental health? A multi-study analysis. Environmental Science and Technology, 44, 10, 3947–3955.

**Kerr, D.C. et al. (2015). Associations between vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms in healthy young adult women. Psychiatry Research, 227, 1, 46-51.

One of the founding principles at True North Candle Forge is to promote a healthy lifestyle through adventure, exploration, and the enjoyment of our wonderful outdoor world. This means that we believe in responsible stewardship. That is why all of our candles will only ever utilize Coconut, Soy, and Bees Waxes in our candles.

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