Updated: Sep 22
How fresh air and natural environments can improve your mood, vitality, and health
Here's is what might be a familiar scene: You're on a rock wall or a treadmill putting in your workout hour. You're sweating but you're still cold because of the artificial AC unit blasting recycled cold air into the room. Someone on the next treadmill over from you cough's a few times (with no mask) and you wonder if they are spreading something that might be nasty. You start to wonder if going to the gym was a good idea after all. I know a lot of folks who would never consider engaging in aerobic exercise outside. They would rather break a sweat inside a gym or even at home. On the other hand, most experienced runners, yogis, or rock climbers would never consider doing what they do inside unless absolutely necessary! They say there is just "something" about working out in the fresh air with amazing views and greenery, and it gives them much more of a felling of wellbeing. Well, it turns out that feeling of wellbeing has been scientifically proven to be true. A 2011 study by Environmental Science and Technology concluded that "Compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy.".. This review has shown some promising effects on self-reported mental wellbeing immediately following exercise in nature which are not seen following the same exercise indoors."
I live in Seattle, Washington where the city planners seem to understand the advantages of "green exercise." Throughout the entire county of smaller cities including Seattle, there are a plethora of trails and beautiful green areas where you will find people running, walking or hiking. Studies also show that a person burns 10% more calories when they exercise outside than when doing exercise at the same rate on a treadmill. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected almost everything we do; where we eat, where we go, where we work out. However, those who have always worked out in green areas have not been so affected.