Get Outside for Health

Breathe in the benefits of outdoor activity.

There’s a lot to love about being outdoors in the summertime. And as it turns out, spending time outdoors is more than just enjoyable — it’s downright healthful. While most of us are aware of the benefits of exercise, it turns out that getting active outside offers even greater health benefits.

Being active outdoors — which is sometimes called “green exercise” — is a great way to improve physical and mental health. Research has shown that green exercise helps:

  • Increase energy and concentration
  • Reduce weight
  • Improve sleep
  • Boost mood
  • Improve self-esteem

Exercising in nature could help motivate you to increase your physical activity. It gets you out of an enclosed space and may feel like a real break from the challenges of everyday life. There is also some evidence that exercise actually feels easier to do in the outdoors.

Exposure to sunlight helps with vitamin D production in the body, and this vitamin (actually a hormone) has mood-boosting effects. Being outdoors, especially around greenery, has been found to:

  • Bring on relaxation
  • Reduce stress and tension
  • Help with depression
  • Calm feelings of anger

Before you head out:

  • Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
  • Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to protect yourself from sunburn.
  • Wear loose, light-colored clothing to avoid becoming overheated.
  • Stay well hydrated, especially in the heat.
  • Do intensive activity in the morning or evening when temps are cooler.

Whether you’re puttering in the garden, running on a wooded trail or playing catch with your kids, just get out there, get active and enjoy the many benefits for your health and well-being!

By Laura Grathwol, Contributing Writer


ACE Fitness. Get Out! 5 Benefits of Outdoor Exercise. Accessed February 21, 2018.
American Public Health Association. Improving health and wellness through access to nature. Accessed February 21, 2018.
American Psyciatric Association. APA Blogs. Another reason to get outside this summer: A natural boost from exercising in the great outdoors. Accessed February 21, 2018.
OrthoInfo. American Academy of Orthopeaedic Surgeons. Vitamin D for good bone health. Accessed February 21, 2018.

Last Updated Feburary 21, 2018