By Jaclyn Brice
Ministry Medical Group
Now that the snow is officially gone and warmer weather is on its way, it’s time to pack away those winter coats and boots and bust out the sunscreen and tennis shoes. Many are aware of the immeasurable health benefits of regular physical activity, but did you know that exercising outdoors can be even better for your health and your pocket book?
“Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving, and less than one quarter of American adults get the recommended 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week,” according to the Centers for Disease Control. If you are one of those people that do reach your weekly physical activity goal, are you getting the most out of your exercise? Recent studies have shown that people that exercise outdoors scored significantly higher on a psychological test measuring vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure, and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue.
Not only is it cheaper than a gym membership but those that exercise outdoors have proven to be more likely to stick with the activity for a longer period of time experiencing greater results. Most people don’t always associate the benefits of physical activity with a mental boost, but outdoor exercise is linked to increased energy as well as decreased confusion, anger, depression and tension.
While unprotected overexposure to sunlight is dangerous and can put you at an increased risk of skin cancer, the many benefits of sunlight should not be overlooked. Vitamin D3 is created when the sun hits your skin and is important to bone health and metabolic function. Exposure to the suns natural light throughout the day is also associated with improved immune function, sleep habits and endorphin production, also known as “feel good hormones.”
While any form of physical activity is good for you, make an effort to get outdoors in the upcoming months and enjoy the beautiful weather by trying some of these activities:
-Get out for a walk
-Go for a hike
-Swim in one of the local lakes
-Take a family bike ride
Since we do live in the Northwoods, remember to practice safe habits such as using bug spray, always wearing sunscreen, wearing reflective clothing and helmets when necessary and having personal floatation devices near for all water activities.
Jaclyn Brice is a Certified Health Coach with Ministry Medical Group