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The Power of Nature - The Benefits of Working Out Outdoors

There's lots of things that have come out of lockdown, I think most people will agree there, but one of the routines I'm planning on holding onto is to get into nature more. I'm extremely lucky to live in Richmond, and during lockdown would do a daily walk in the park, which absolutely saved me during those heavy, anxiety filled, lonely days at the beginning of the lockdown. I found the power of nature early on, in my teenage years, when I also went through periods of loneliness, and going for walks in Richmond Park became my escape and solace from a time I found difficult. I found a magic and intense comfort in the natural world which at the time was hard to describe. Fast forward 20 years and the benefits of spending time in nature and the great outdoors are becoming more and more apparent. Numerous studies are now being performed into the power of the natural world, and how key it is to building a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.


I've listed below some of the benefits of exercising outdoors, but I'm sure there are many more, and what each person takes away from their time spent in nature will be unique:


1. Studies have shown that spending time in nature may lower cortisol levels, pulse and blood pressure. Regular exercise has also been shown to have similar effects - so working out in nature could be more bang for your buck!


2. Phytoncides are organic compounds derived from plants that a Japanese study showed to have positive effects on the immune system.


3.Running outside, rather than on a treadmill, builds a more resilient body. The varied terrain challenges the muscles, and unstable surfaces trigger the small stabiliser muscle activation.


4.Time spent in nature can help with mental health, especially potentially aiding in the relief of conditions most of us can relate to in these busy and turbulent modern times, like anxiety and depression, which in turn can of course affect physical health.


5. And of course trees are amazing as they provide oxygen and help buffer pollution!


The summer months are an ideal time to start with walks exploring local parks, or countryside further afield, and while gyms are almost open again there are lots of options to take your workout to a park or green space.


References - https://www.arborday.org/trees/treefacts/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6466337/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793341/

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