Sometimes it’s hard to bring yourself to go to the gym for a cardio session. In fact, a lot of the time it’s hard, and unless you are a fitness or running lover, cardiovascular exercise can be a real chore. Annoying when it’s so important to your health, right?


A wonderful way to tackle the struggles that running can present is by swapping the treadmill for the great outdoors. Sounds like a simple change, which it is, but the benefits of the change can improve not only your physical wellbeing, but your mental health too.


Here’s three ways running outdoors can give you a healthier lifestyle.


1. Biophilia - It’s in our nature

  Being outside in general is pretty much universally considered a good thing. Come rain or shine, you’ll rarely, if ever, come home feeling worse for the fresh air. Edward O. Wilson suggests that this feeling is because we as humans have ‘biophilia’, a love for, and innate connection with, Mother Nature herself. Whether you believe in this connection or not, being outdoors is known to have a positive effect on our mood. Not only is outdoor activity thought to revitalise and energise us more than indoor activity would, it also has strong connections with decreased anger, confusion, depression and tension. Outdoor running is also closely associated with boosted self-esteem, so if you struggle with motivation from time to time, a more positive post-workout feeling will make it easier for you to get out and go in the future.


2. Don’t be Vitamin D-ficient

  In 2010 , more than one billion people were deficient in Vitamin D, yet people still underestimate its importance. Often considered the cause of Rickets, Vitamin D deficiency is now becoming more and more closely associated with other ailments. Outside of supplements and certain foods such as fish, Vitamin D can only be gained through direct contact with sunlight. To get that direct contact, you might just need to be outside. Exercising in the outdoors has many other benefits, but being outside for prolonged periods, particularly in the summer, helps your body get the vitamins it needs. This is particularly important if you’re a gym-goer who spends most of your day inside, as you’ll need as much Vitamin D as you can get.


3. Less boredom leads to lengthier exercise

  A big problem that many people experience when running on a treadmill is boredom. Strangely, it becomes very difficult to run long distances when you’re not actually moving anywhere, and sometimes even subtitled cooking shows won’t retain interest. If you’re somebody who struggles to run for as long as you’d like on a treadmill, find an interesting route near you and give it a try. Whether it’s a nature track or a city path, you’re bound to find somewhere different to run every day, and that variety might just help keep you on your toes. Some studies have even shown that you are likely to engage in far more physical activity outside than you would inside. You’ll find that it’s easier to run knowing you have a finish point as well, regardless of how long your circuit is.





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