5 Benefits Besides Fitness To Hiking In The Great Outdoors
While improving physical fitness can be done indoors or outdoors, there are definite advantages of doing your exercise program in the great outdoors rather than in a stuffy gym or in your living room.
Outdoor activities have added advantages to indoor exercising. Five of these advantages are listed below:
1. Improve Spirituality. When you are exercising outdoors, you can get in touch with your spiritual side. Notice the gifts that God has given us in the form of the sky, trees, and lakes around you. Meditate on the beauty of these things and take the time to pray as you exercise. This is a good time to relax your mind and pray over the great things you see around you.
2. Get In Touch With Fresh Air. What a concept? Exercising in a stuffy gym can be more than just unpleasant. Many people in the same area huffing and puffing can lead to respiratory diseases. This is also true with using weights or weight machines that have not been wiped down with antiseptics. Many diseases are passed by direct contact with something a sick person has touched and weights/weight machines are no exception. When you exercise outdoors, you breathe in clean, fresh air with little chance for getting an infection from respiratory or physical contact with someone who is sick.
3. Take In The Beautiful Scenery. Try to exercise at a park or around a lake where you can lose yourself in the beauty of the physical space you are exercising in. Exercising in lovely surroundings has been shown to increase the time spent exercising so you will burn more calories just by exercising in a place that is pleasant to exercise in. This is far better than watching the pedometer machine on a treadmill count the miles you have walked. If you need to know how much you have walked outdoors, buy a pedometer that you clip to your belt. It will measure the amount of steps you are taken and, given your stride length, the number of miles you have walked. It is guaranteed to be more effective if you are exercising in beautiful scenery rather than a stuffy gym.
4. A Place For Meditation. It is hard to get in the mind space for meditation if you are exercising around a lot of noise or many people. Even the noise of the treadmill or stair-stepper can be distracting so that you can’t focus on your breath for adequate meditation. When all you have are the sounds of nature and your footfalls to focus on, meditating on your breath can be an easy task. If you exercise in a beautiful space, you can avoid having to come up with a place to use for guided imagery because you are already there. Guided imagery is a form of meditation where you imagine yourself in beautiful surroundings. If you are already there exercising, you have a much easier time with fruitful meditation using guided imagery. Again, it is important to try to find a park or other public space free from crowds and traffic noise.
5. Stress Relief. Exercising outdoors is great for stress relief. Away from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life, exercising outdoors can improve the level of your stress. Add one of the techniques described above, such as prayer and meditation, and you will find even more stress relief. The fresh air and nature are also well known to alleviate stress, both physically and mentally. You don’t have to exercise alone if you are exercising for stress relief. Exercise with a beloved friend or relative and you can talk away your stresses with that other person.
Exercising outdoors can be done in any climate, provided you dress for the weather. Outdoor exercising has so many benefits over indoor exercising that it is worth exercising even on a rainy or snowy day. Nature is beautiful, in all its forms.