How Outdoor Exercise & Fresh Air Impact Health

Outdoor Exercise Fresh Air

It’s no secret that exercise is an important part of life, especially for adults who often sit behind a desk all day. The average American adult employed full time works 47 hours per week, according to a Gallup poll, and four in 10 workers put in over 50 hours each week. So, it is often difficult for adults to reach the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week, according to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Many are left to cram as much physical activity as they can into tight windows – often times the weekend.

“If you can’t make time to exercise during the week, you can get at least some of the benefits by being a weekend warrior,” says Brian Parr, associate professor of exercise and sports science at the University of South Carolina-Aiken. “Any amount of activity is better than none.”

Outdoor Exercise And the Importance of Fresh Air

“People often tend to forget about the importance of spending time outside and underestimate the health benefits,” says Urmet Seepter, goodrelaxation.com. For starters, outdoor exercise gets you out of the gym, which is a benefit for many who find gyms to be intimidating.

“Despite the fitness industry boom, we are not seeing changes in national physical activity levels, so gyms are not the answer,” says Jacqueline Kerr, a professor at the University of California, San Diego. Sports such as hiking, canoeing, swimming, biking, and numerous other outdoor activities give you more choices for enjoyable exercise, which is likely to keep you motivated.

“If outdoor activity encourages more activity, then it is a good thing,” says Kerr.

Secondly, just being outdoors in the fresh air brings along with it many additional benefits, as well. These include:

  • Fresh air is good for your health. Fresh air has been shown to help digest food more effectively, improve blood pressure and heart rate, and strengthen the immune system, leading to a healthier you. “Time spent in outdoor recreation leads to a range of benefits, from reduced obesity rates to strengthened family ties,” according to Robert Manning, professor of recreation management at the University of Vermont. And, quite frankly, it’s more enjoyable.
  • It makes you happier. “We found that positive emotions are associated with a range of long-term health habits,” writes researcher Nancy L Sin, “which are important for reducing the risk of future heart problems and death. Higher levels of positive emotions were associated with less smoking, greater physical activity, better sleep quality and more adherence to medications at baseline.”
  • Fresh air cleans your lungs. “Fresh air helps the airways of your lungs to dilate more fully and improves the cleansing action of your lungs,” says Seepter. “When you exhale and breathe out through your lungs, you release airborne toxins from your body.”
  • You will have more energy and sharper mind. Research shows that “spending time in fresh air, surrounded by nature, increases energy in 90 percent of people,” says Abigail Wise, The Huffington Post. There is a “positive impact of being outdoors and around natural elements on subjective vitality, above and beyond the effects of physical activities or social interactions that can take place in natural settings,” adds researcher Richard Ryan, et al.

“Nature is fuel for the soul, “ says Richard Ryan, researcher and professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. “Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature.”

Get Outdoors and Get Energized with Terrapin Adventures

“Being outside enriches your experience,” says Ellen Miller, Outdoor Fitness Coach at the Vail Vitality Center and Vail Athletic Club in Vail, Colorado, and the only American woman to have summited both sides of Mt. Everest.

Conveniently located in Howard County, Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures not only features the ultimate challenge course with three levels taking you up to 40 ft. in the air, but we also offer several guided tours and outdoor activities, such as biking, backpacking, kayaking, and geocaching, just to name a few. Best of all, “outdoor exercise can be adapted to anyone’s level of fitness,” says Tina Vindum, the first outdoor fitness instructor accredited by the American Council on Exercise.

Find Your Next Adventure!

Dress in Layers

Now that fall is in full swing (and winter right around the corner) it is important to remember to dress in layers. This way, you can continue to enjoy the great outdoors even in colder weather.

  1. Base Layer (Layer 1): No matter how frigid the temperature, wear a light, long-sleeved baselayer next to your skin to help manage moisture. Thinner layers wick sweat better and dry faster.
  2. Insulating Layer (Layer 2): The insulating layer protects you from the cold – either wool, polyester, or a blend of the two.
  3. Shell Layer (Layer 3): The outer layer helps protect you from the weather, shielding you from wind and rain.

You simply add or subtract layers as needed.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. Seepter, Urmet. “6 Important Health Benefits Of Fresh Air I Good Relaxation.” Good Relaxation, 21 Nov. 2014, goodrelaxation.com/2012/01/health-benefits-of-fresh-air/.
  2. Wise, Abigail. “Why Getting Fresh Air Is So Good For You.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 8 Aug. 2014, www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/08/tk-ways-fresh-air-impacts_0_n_5648164.html.
  3. Sample, Ian. “Weekend workouts can benefit health as much as regular exercise, say researchers.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 09 Jan. 2017. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
  4. Pashley, Tina. “Physical, Social, Emotional & Intellectual Benefits of Outdoor Recreation.” LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 26 May 2015. Web. 12 May 2017.
  5. CBS/AP. “Do “weekend warriors” reap the full benefits of exercise?” CBS News. CBS Interactive, 09 Jan. 2017. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
  6. Ryan, Richard M., et al. “Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 30, no. 2, 2010, pp. 159–168., doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2009.10.009
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