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Why fitness in the fresh air is so good for you

While we may not have the glorious spring weather that accompanied lockdown number one, it doesn't mean we shouldn't get outside for our daily dose of exercise. Fitness and wellness expert Adele Smyth gives us eight reasons why training outside is so beneficial.

Runner tying her shoes outside
Close up shoes Female runner tying her shoes for a jogging exercise

I am so happy that we can exercise outside!  It’s been a tough year – and for for many of us exercise is what has kept us going. But while exercise is certainly great for the body and mind, taking it into the great outdoors can only make it even better.

Hello sunshine
Your body will benefit from the extra sunshine and Vitamin D and there’s nothing better than hearing the sound of nature when you’re getting a bit of a sweat on!

No worries
With all of the social distancing rules and laws that we have had to abide to, being outside takes the pressure off worrying about being too close to someone and it gives you the peace of mind in the knowledge that you are doing something positive for yourself.

Work hard
When we exercise outside, we often end up working harder. You may live somewhere where it is quite hilly or have a lot of wooded areas nearby.  Mixing up the terrain helps with both your body and mind as you need to work harder to navigate different landscapes and physically it can be more challenging hopping over logs, running through streams or along the beach.

Fresh air
The air outside is often a lot cleaner than the air inside, with hopefully less pollutants in it. And fresh air is known to help with insomnia, so you’ll sleep better too.

Stress buster
Studies show that outdoor exercise can lower your blood pressure and heart rate leading to a reduction in stress and most often an increase in your general mood.  What’s not to love about all that?

It’s always open
You can also exercise whenever you like, any time of day or night.  The outdoors is never closed and it’s also free!  Bonus!

It adds variety
I’ve been exercising outdoors for years and love the variety that it allows me after I have been exercising indoors during the rest of the week. I still really enjoy being in a studio environment and will definitely stick to combining both, as I enjoy the different atmospheres, challenges and connections that it gives to me.

It clear the mind
But there’s no doubt that being outdoors is wonderful for peace of mind, for time to yourself and a place to gain clarity and get a bit of personal headspace. 

Exercise is meant to be something that you look forward to and enjoy.  If it’s starting to feel too much like a chore, then change it up.  Go for a run along the beach or the river, find an outdoor space where you have to climb over trees or logs or walk up a mountain or hill.  The outside is never boring.

Adele Smyth is a nurse and a Pilates, yoga and barre instructor in Thames Ditton, Surrey, with a specialist interest in women’s health and wellbeing. During lockdown her fitness classes are available online via Zoom.

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