April 05, 2017

6 Reasons Outdoor Fitness is the Best

It's TIME to rethink your workout.

With the arrival of spring, many communities are thinking about how to encourage people in their community to be more active and to improve their health and wellness. For years, GameTime has advocated for outdoor fitness and shared the many benefits of using parks and green spaces for outdoor fitness areas. That's why we were excited to read a recent article published by Time Magazine about how outdoor exercise has more benefits than most people realize. Let's review the points:

1. When you exercise outdoors, you work harder and longer.

2. Nature is linked to lower blood pressure.

  • Another study suggests almost 10% of those suffering from high blood pressure could lower their blood pressure simply by being outdoors.
  • The Japanese call this practice shinrin-yoku, which means "forest bathing." Research suggests forest bathing lowers levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
  • A great way to incorporate extra fitness into existing green space is to add outdoor fitness pockets along greenways.
  • Pair those fitness pockets with nature-themed "play pockets" and kids can enjoy the outdoors, too.

3. Being outside may help you fight cancer.

  • Yes, you read that right. Some research claims that when you are among nature, you "inhale aromatic compounds from plants called phytoncides," according to Time.
  • These phytoncides can increase the number of immune system-supporting white blood cells called "natural cancer-killer cells."

4. Playing -- I mean, exercising outside is just more fun.

  • Studies suggest people feel happier and more fulfilled by exercise when it takes place outside.
  • Making an exercise or workout program fun and enjoyable is the number one way to make it a sustainable part of a person's routine.

5. Nature makes you calmer -- and outside exercise increases endorphins.

  • Time cites a 2015 study that found "people who walked for 90 minutes outside were less likely to ruminate on their problems ... compared to people who took similar walks but in urban areas."
  • Study after study confirms exercise is a natural stress reliever. Studies also show that being in nature lowers cortisol levels - the stress hormone. Outdoor fitness is an effective one-two punch against stress!

6. Exercising outside is a great alternative to the gym.

  • One of the top reasons adults don't get enough physical activity is a lack of resources or funds to join a fitness center. 
  • Awesome organizations like the Trust for Public Land build outdoor fitness parks in underserved areas. Outdoor fitness parks give everyone a chance to exercise and be happy without the cost of a gym membership.ivity

Join the Movement!

If you're interested in building an outdoor fitness park in your area, we have resources to help. PlayCore, GameTime's parent company, has spent the past decade working with industry professionals and fitness experts to offer educational and design resources for outdoor fitness parks. They literally helped to write the book on Outdoor Fitness Parks. You can request a copy of our guide to our Outdoor Adult Fitness Parks and help everyone in your community be more active outdoors!