We all know that exercise is good for us. Numerous studies show that staying active can help us control our weight, fight disease, improve mood, boost energy, sleep better and increase libido.
Fewer people, on the other hand, know the myriad health (and workout!) benefits of time spent in nature. According to a 2011 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, people who walked on an outdoor track not only moved faster, but also perceived less exertion and had more positive emotions than those who worked out on an indoor treadmill. Other studies show that just an hour spent outside can improve memory and attention span by 20 percent, that people who live near green space are more satisfied with life and have higher overall well-being, and that time in nature can significantly help those who suffer from moderate to severe depression.
In fact, in a 2010 study from South Korea's Chonnam National University, scientists showed that simply looking at a natural scene activated parts of the brains associated with balance and happiness.
For these reasons, an outdoor workout can be the best way to keep both your mind and body healthy. And, with the warm weather and sunny days of summer, this season is the best time to take up new activities. If you're hard-pressed for ideas, or just want to try something different, check out our list of the best ways to sweat outside, which include (surprisingly beneficial) beach running, gym workouts rebooted in the park and even a bit of old-fashioned child's play. Whether you're looking for a weekend adventure or something simple to try near your home, we have an idea for you.
While yoga was traditionally practiced outside, many yogis now restrict their practice to a studio. Getting back to the natural world is a growing trend in cities such as New York, and can be a great way to get your dose of sunlight for the day. Try a Google search for outdoor yoga classes and you may be surprised how many options you have. If there's nothing available near you, you can always consider a yoga retreat at one of these awesome destinations.
Rethink Resistance Training
While you can attach a resistance band or TRX kit to a door or a gym machine, they work just as well with a tree or pole outdoors.
Jog With Your Dog
While you may not love jogging, your dog sure does. Channel some of that positive energy by including your pet in your next workout. Consult your physician as well as your dog's veterinarian before beginning an exercise program, and keep in mind that a dog's breed will affect its abilities. While shepherds, terriers and retrievers are built for endurance, other dogs are fit to sprint. Look to the Dog Breed Info Center to find out more. For recommendations on dog workout gear, click here.
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