Mother Earth Living

Natural Health

Better living through nature

Exercising Outside Makes You Happier

5/13/2010 12:31:46 PM

Tags: natural health, exercise, outdoors, nature, mental health

We all know that exercise makes us happy. Exercise releases endorphins in our brains, lifting our spirits and lightening our moods. And for most of us, being outside—soaking up the natural light, breathing in fresh air—also makes us happy. So what if you combine the two and exercise outside? Would you be twice as happy?

That’s what researchers at the University of Essex wanted to find out when they began their study on “green exercise.” (In this instance, green exercise refers to exercising outside, as opposed to exercising on equipment that doesn’t require electricity.) For the study, the researchers looked at ten years’ worth of data from previous studies, focusing on the type of activities people engaged in and the effect those activities had on their mental health. The researchers discovered that people who participated in outside activities—walking, gardening, farming, riding bicycles—saw greater positive effects from the exercise than did others. Any kind of natural environment, even parks in big cities, were enough to provide the mental benefits, but the biggest boost came from exercising near water.

women jogging on the beach
Exercising outside makes you happier than exercising indoors. For the biggest mental boost, exercise near water. Photo By Joshua Schoorl/Courtesy Flickr 

You don’t have to spend long outside to experience these benefits. The researchers concluded that just five minutes of outside activity is enough to improve your mood and self esteem. Exercising for longer than five minutes is obviously important for reaping the utmost health benefits, but it’s nice to know that a short walk around the block makes you feel better, especially when you might only have a short break at work.

One of the study’s researchers said he hopes the data can be used from a policy standpoint to increase our connection to nature, whether it’s earning more funding for public parks and better beach access to creating landscaping guidelines for schools.

Do you exercise outside or inside?



Related Content

Dreams of a Backyard Bedroom

If the heat is getting you down—and out of your comfortable sleeping—take your bedroom outside and l...

Groupon for Greenies: A Site to Save You Money

Green America offers savvy shoppers daily discounts—and reassurance that they're buying green—throug...

Improve Your Mood: 5 Habits to Make You Feel Happier

Banish bad moods by eating right, exercising and changing your daily habits. Follow these five steps...

In The News: Excessive Sitting May Cause Premature Death in Women

A new study found that your office chair may be hurting your health.

Content Tools
RSS




Post a comment below.

 



Subscribe today and save 50%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.