Holidays are the perfect time to combine physical activity with nature and the environment. On the one hand, an active lifestyle helps to counteract the sedentary lifestyle that characterizes these periods of rest, and outdoor sports provide a significant improvement in emotional state, help improve mood, reduce stress levels, and ensure complete shutdown.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week for adults. In addition to improving cardiovascular health, the incidence of hypertension, diabetes, or cancer in certain areas, physical activity significantly improves mental health, especially when practiced outdoors. And it is that exercise in a natural environment is associated with an increase in positive emotions; increased focus, energy, and satisfaction, as well as a reduction in the physiological response associated with stress.
Some of the benefits of outdoor physical activity include:
Sunlight and Vitamin D. The synthesis of vitamin D from sun exposure during outdoor exercise is of great benefit to bones and muscles, as well as to the prevention of cardiovascular disease. However, it is important to protect yourself from solar radiation throughout the year. In general, sun protection is associated with summer and heat, but the reality is that the sun’s rays are reflected on many surfaces, such as sand, water, snow, rocks, so the skin must be adequately protected with photoprotectors, sunglasses, hats. , caps…etc. whether sports in winter or summer, to avoid burns and permanent skin damage.
Motivation and creativity are stimulated. Outdoor exercise offers endless possibilities compared to an indoor space like the gym. By increasing adventure and fun, motivation is stimulated and therefore the chances of being more consistent. In this sense, whatever the activity, it is important to adapt the physical characteristics of each exercise to the physical condition, age and type of population. Don’t forget that any physical activity is important, whether it’s running, dancing, walking your pet, or gardening. Similarly, if the temperature is very high, strenuous physical activity is not recommended to avoid dizziness, heat stroke due to exertion, and dehydration.
Strengthening the immune system. The best way to guarantee protection against infections of any kind is to promote overall health: proper nutrition, proper rest, mental health care and exercise. Impacting nature, where air quality is better, can be beneficial and address pollution problems in cities. For people with allergies, nasal congestion, or rhinitis, there may be additional difficulties when it comes to proper oxygenation. In these cases, it is recommended to avoid the early hours of the day or to choose places with fewer plants in order to mitigate the effects of pollen and thus enjoy outdoor walks.
More endorphins, less stress. Being outdoors and in direct contact with nature can have a calming effect on the mind and body. Exposure to green spaces such as parks, mountains or beaches helps reduce stress levels and improve mood. On the other hand, the usual change of scenery helps to clarify the mind and reduce mental stress associated with everyday worries. In addition, in people with cognitive impairment, constant outdoor activity reduces anxiety, asthenia, and behavioral disorders, promoting awareness and mindfulness practice.
Resting brain, growing neurons. Compared to urban or indoor spaces, outdoor spaces often have less intense visual and auditory stimuli, allowing the mind to relax and unwind. A walk in the woods can help the brain relax, which is often associated with an increased ability to learn and reinforce newly acquired skills.