Top 6 Reasons to Exercise Outside

Here in Austin temperatures have been enjoyable and the sweltering heat hasn’t yet kicked in. Here are some reasons why you should get outdoors and take advantage of this great weather we are having

Outdoor exercise lifts your mood

A 2012 report found that spending time in the out of doors made people 50 percent happier than spending time at the gym, according to the Telegraph.

Previous research has linked outdoor exercise with a reduction in tension, confusion, anger and depression, when compared to indoor activity. And it doesn’t have to be a long stroll in the park, either: A 2010 study found that even just five minutes of exercise in a green space can improve mood and self-esteem, the BBC reported.

It Improves your attention and focus

A small study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that kids with ADHD were able to concentrate better after a 20-minute walk in a park rather than a walk through city or neighborhood streets.

“What this particular study tells us is that the physical environment matters,” Frances E. Kuo, director of the university’s Landscape and Human Health Laboratory and one of the study’s co-authors told The New York Times. “We don’t know what it is about the park, exactly — the greenness or lack of buildings — that seems to improve attention.”

It helps you stick with it

While every little bit of exercise counts, let’s be honest: Most of us could probably afford to do a little bit more. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend the average adult get two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio every week, plus two or more sessions of strength training.

Between seemingly endless work hours and the demands of family life, it’s all too easy to skip a workout. However, a 2011 survey found that exercising outdoors is a reinforcing behavior: Outdoor exercisers “declared a greater intent to repeat the activity at a later date” than gym-goers.

It can help keep your weight steady

The fresh air, the sunlight, the scenery, the open space — there’s a lot about being outside that can inspire more activity, especially compared to the beckoning couches and screens of indoor spaces. All that extra movement adds up to tangible results: A 2008 study found that rates of overweight among children who spent more time outside were 27 to 41 percent lower than in kids who spent more time indoors.

 

It will ramp up your energy

Exercise itself is sure to reinvigorate you when you’re feeling sluggish, but fresh air can boost the effect. A 2009 study from the University of Rochester found that just 20 minutes outside can rev you up as much as a cup of coffee, The Telegraph reported.

“Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but this suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature,” lead author Richard M. Ryan, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the university told the publication.

It can ramp up your vitamin D levels

Taking your workout outside is a great (and free!) way to soak up some additional vitamin D. A 2011 study that found vigorous exercisers had higher levels of vitamin suggested that outdoor exercise may be the reason why.

It may be especially helpful for people with a few pounds to lose, according to Everyday Health, since overweight people are almost twice as likely to not get enough vitamin D.

Top 5 Outdoor Spots to Workout in Austin

Austin has been repeatedly touted as one of the nation’s fittest cities. With the beautiful days we have had this winter its a perfect time to take your workouts outdoors. Here are my favorite places to get out in the sun and burn some calories.

1) Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake

With 10-miles of awesome scenery the Hike and Bike Trail, is my favorite place to get a run in. Weather you want to walk, bike, or a avid runner this place is the perfect destination. Making running exciting and different breaks up the monotony of a treadmill run.

Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake - Austin Personal Trainer

2) Zilker Park

2100 Barton Springs Road, (512) 472-4914, austinparks.org/our-parks.html

Simply put, our city wouldn’t be Austin without Zilker Park. Made up of 351 acres that stretch from MoPac to Robert E. Lee Road on the south side of Lady Bird Lake, the picturesque park is home to fields that are used for everything from Frisbee and soccer to flying kites.

zilker

3) Mueller Lake Park

4500 Mueller Blvd., (512) 703-9202, muelleraustin.com

Mueller a variety to offer, with a nice green space, running and biking trails and even a play ground for the kids. Its central location offers another option for those who don’t want to trek downtown and fight the traffic.

 

mueller

4) Barton Springs

2100 Barton Springs Road, (512) 472-4914, austinparks.org/our-parks.html

It may be a little cold this time of year, but for those who want to get in the water for their workout this is a great place. Not only is swimming a good workout, it is a great alternative for those who have injuries.

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5) The Veloway

4900 La Crosse Av, Austin, TX 78739

Open from dawn to dusk, the Veloway is a great place to bike, especially for beginners. Its nice scenery and and motorized vehicle environment make this trail safe and enjoyable.

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