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Amazing Benefits of Exercising Outdoors for Body and Mind

November 09, 2023 5 min read

Amazing Benefits of Exercising Outdoors for Body and Mind

The Holistic Benefits of Exercising Outdoors

Consider the holistic benefits of exercising outdoors and how incorporating one or more workouts into this environment could significantly improve your quality of life.

From challenging your mind with ever-changing terrain to gaining fresh air, socialization, and an important connection to nature, this workout environment should definitely be taken advantage of.

Have you ever taken a walk in the rays of the sun and felt a cool clean breeze on your face?

This is one example of movement outdoors and when you take an exercise routine outside, some impressive health advantages can occur.

According to a study by researchers from the Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, University of Milan which was published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness “Performing outdoor sports and physical activities may bear social, psychological and physiological benefits. Preventive effects are similarly documented in youth and seniors towards several morbid conditions: vitamin D deficiency, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and myopia” (1).

At AFT Fitness Coaching we handpick the best outdoor exercise for you. We don’t just show you a routine, we help expertly craft and incorporate that routine into your busy life. If you have never considered exercising outdoors or want to improve your outdoor game, AFT knows how to help you hit the ground running, literally.

Greenspace Exposure While Exercising Outdoors

Bringing your workout into an exterior, non-gym environment often means finding a greenspace like a park, field, or nature path that can accommodate various activity routines. Being in this natural environment has been shown to enhance a variety of health benefits. When put to the test, researchers were able to compare indoor and outdoor exercise to determine if there are any physical as well as mental health advantages. 

A study titled, ‘The health benefits of the great outdoors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of greenspace exposure and health outcomes’ (2) by researchers from the Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, found that “greenspace exposure is associated with wide-ranging health benefits, with meta-analyses results showing statistically significant associations with” (2):

  • Heart rate
  • Reduced diastolic blood pressure
  • Salivary cortisol (too much cortisol is associated with high-stress health compromises)
  • Incidence of type II diabetes and stroke
  • All-cause and cardiovascular mortality
  • Health-denoting associations with pregnancy outcomes
  • Heart rate variability (HRV)
  • High-density lipoprotein(HDL) “good” cholesterol
  • Self-reported health
  • Neurological outcomes
  • Respiratory mortality
  • Increased sleep duration
Some research even shows how simply seeing a green landscape can affect optimal health. One study titled, ‘Adaptive Effects of Seeing Green Environment on Psychophysiological Parameters When Walking or Running’ by researchers from the Sports Science Program at Qatar University, stated: “...exposure to green, relative to other colors, slowed down heart rate in walking and increased perceived exertion after 15 min of running...” (3).

Overall, it is our natural instinct to be outdoors and greenspace exposure can certainly improve your health. Even just one outdoor exercise routine can make a world of difference.

Out-of-the-Box Workout Routines 

You can create an outdoor exercise routine that consists of the many easy choices to integrate such as running, biking, or even yoga. However, sometimes it is best to mix up your workout routine with some out-of-the-box workouts you can stagger into an unexpected session. It will make your workout an ever-changing routine that challenges your body in different ways.

Some suggested unconventional exercises for those who enjoy exercising outdoors include:

  • Rock climbing
  • Boxing or martial arts
  • Tai Chi or Qi Gong (slow martial arts balancing routines)
  • Park bench regimen (incline/decline push-ups and dips)
  • Hanging crunches (hang from a tree branch or monkey bars and bring knees to your chest)
  • Slalom rock jump (place six small rocks in a zigzag pattern about one and a half feet apart and keeping your feet together, hop to the outside of each rock then repeat on the way back)
  • Circuit routine - Choose a good path where you can stop and work out every hundred feet or so. Pick five to ten exercises (push-ups, sit-ups, squat-jumps, Jumping Jacks, etc). Run to each “station” and perform each exercise three times.
  • Rowing - If you can get on the water, rowing a canoe or kayak is an amazing workout

Once you choose your workouts (we can help provide ideas) you can navigate exercising outdoors with the advice and assistance of an AFT Fitness Coaching.

These are professional experts trained in the mechanics of anatomy and physiology (not just someone who took a month-long course and became a “trainer”). With this kind of coaching, you can catapult your outdoor routine to the next level, making it that much more fun, safe, and challenging for optimal results.

Exercise Outdoors By Simply Walking

Physical activity routines such as high-intensityinterval training (HIIT) or a strength-building isometric workout are some excellent outdoor exercise applications.

However, if these don’t fit into your wheelhouse at this time, a mindful walk is a good way to get started. Every day (twice per day if possible) walk at a good pace for at least twenty to thirty minutes. Doing this has shown to yield swift health improvements.

According to the Mayo Clinic (4), regular brisk walking can help you:
  • Increase energy levels
  • Reduce stress and tension
  • Improve muscle endurance
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve your balance and coordination
  • Maintain a healthy weight and lose body fat
  • Improve your mood, cognition, memory, and sleep
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, and type 2 diabetes

It feels good to walk at a swift pace and it is a great way to kick off your outdoor exercise. Try for a morning walk before work and then another evening walk after dinner. Once you feel ready, you can step up to the next level.

Even if you simply choose to start with walking, an AFT Fitness Coaching will be with you every step of the way and can help take you to that next level when you are ready.

Find the Best Approach To Exercising Outdoors

Taking your workout into the park or even the streets should be fun. Videoconferencing with an AFT Fitness Coaching can help navigate an individualized outdoor exercise program which is essential for experiencing the results you deserve.

This unique support gives you an opportunity to save time that would otherwise be spent searching for what works and instead utilizes coaching expertise that puts you in the driver’s seat from the very start.

It will also help eliminate discouragement, which is one of the main culprits of throwing one off their good-intentioned exercise game.

AFT Fitness Coaching will work with you to:
  • Review your goals
  • Discuss workout history
  • Go over the preferred schedule
  • Agree on what type of approach works best for you
Through a series of phases determined by you, AFT Fitness Coaching combines implementing a plan with support and expertise. These benefits of exercising outdoors show the importance of linking with nature to improve your mental and physical well-being.
A study titled, ‘The Great Outdoors: how a green exercise environment can benefit all,’ published in Extreme Physiology & Medicine stated “The synergistic combination of exercise and exposure to nature and thus the ‘great outdoors’ could be used as a powerful tool to help fight the growing incidence of both physical inactivity and non-communicable disease” (5).

Let AFT Fitness Coaching take you to the next level of outdoor exercise. Our internal quality control measures ensure that when an our experienced coach interacts with our clients that they meet our rigorous standards.

This gives you a bespoke personal training experience that surpasses the industry standard and enables you to catapult to the goals you never thought you could attain, until now.

1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30650943/
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6562165/
3. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00252/full
4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/walking/art-20046261
5. https://extremephysiolmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2046-7648-2-3

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