Improved Attention And Focus
A small study from the University of Illinois found that kids with ADHD were able to concentrate better after a 20-minute walk in a park rather than a walk through city or neighborhood streets.
“What this particular study tells us is that the physical environment matters,” one of the study’s co-authors told The New York Times. “We don’t know what it is about the park, exactly — the greenness or lack of buildings — that seems to improve attention.”
Greater Likelihood To Keep Exercising
While every little bit of exercise counts, let’s be honest: most of us could probably afford to do a little bit more. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines recommend the average adult get two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio every week, plus two or more sessions of strength training.It’s all too easy to skimp on workouts. However, a 2011 survey found that exercising outdoors is a reinforcing behavior — the study found that outdoor exercisers “declared a greater intent to repeat the activity at a later date” than gym-goers.
Exercise itself is sure to reinvigorate you when you’re feeling sluggish, but fresh air can up the effect. A 2009 study from the University of Rochester found that just 20 minutes outside can rev you up as much as a cup of coffee, The Telegraph reported.
Faster Healing And Less Pain
A 2005 study of spinal surgery patients found that patients staying on the sunny side of the hospital reported less pain, less stress and needed less medication for pain than patients housed on the shady side of the building.Of course, recovering from a surgery will temporarily put a damper on most fitness plans, but if sunlight is the key ingredient, an outdoor workout may just boast some of the same benefits for more minor injuries.
Higher Vitamin D Levels
Taking your workout outside is a great (and free!) way to soak up some additional vitamin D. A 2011 study that found vigorous exercisers had higher levels of vitamin suggested that outdoor exercise may be the reason why, it was reported.
Lower Risk Of Being Overweight
The fresh air, the sunlight, the scenery, the open space — there’s a lot about being outside that can inspire more activity, especially when contrasted to the beckoning couches and screens of indoor spaces. And the extra movement adds up. A 2008 study found that rates of overweight among children who spent more time outside were 27 to 41 percent lower than in kids who spent more time indoors.