Green Exercise is Good for You

When I say green exercise, I don’t mean a self-propelled treadmill or gym that uses natural cleaning products – I mean getting outside.

Head outside, it's good for you! Photo: M.Kopp

A recent study found that “compared with exercising indoors, excercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalisation, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression.”

But that’s not all, participants in the study went on to say that they experienced “greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and… that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date.”

Previous research has shown that as little as five minutes a day of activity in an outdoor environment can have a positive effect on self-esteem.  This study also mentions that “all natural environments were beneficial…” but that “green areas with water added something extra.” Hmmm. Think I’m going to head out for a walk along the river with my dog as soon as I’m done here.

In my mind the nugget in all of this is that I love being outdoors. Going to the gym is work – as in workout. Going for a walk, a ski or on a backpacking trip is pure enjoyment, even though you might “work” as hard and the benefits may be the same as going to a gym.

Happy St. Paddy’s Day everyone – now get your green on and head outside!

Quick question: Do you consider backpacking, hiking, biking, skiing, boarding, mountaineering or climbing to be work or play?

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