This week we have some great insight with 7 benefits from running outside. Contributing to help get the best insight for this has been one of our panel of guest authors. The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on all humankind and has forever transformed society over the course of the past few years. With virus, social distancing, remote work, and quarantine being some of the words we became accustomed to. We all developed coping mechanisms to deal with the physical and psychological effects that this period had on us.
Fitness apps, have seen the increase in activity rates progressively since 2020. In 2020, Strava reported a 33% increase in activities uploaded in comparison to the year before.
The health benefits of running have been known for quite some time now, but the time spent outside offers much more than just getting fit. Here are some of the overall benefits and reasons to consider making running outdoors part of your weekly routine.
How Does Running Outside Improve Mental Health?
Many circumstances can deeply impact our mental health, with stress, anxiety, and depression levels continually rising. Running and exercise in general are long considered as an effective way to cope with mental health problems, since they are associated with a release of endorphins, the chemicals that help to reduce stress and feelings of pain in the body.
Moreover, when we run, the brain pumps out endocannabinoids, a biochemical compound that is associated with the post-exercise euphoric feeling we know as ‘runner’s high.’ These changes are the ultimate healthy mood boost we’ve been needing during this pandemic.
Outdoor running and other activities help to move our bodies, but also as a change of scenery from the limited space in our homes. There is nothing like fresh air, trees, plants, and a change of surroundings to help with getting out of a rut.
For health benefits beyond running. Take a look at our article on the health benefits of cycling. More insight on health and well-being to consider.
How Does Outdoor Running Affect Energy Levels?
The release of endorphins and endocannabinoids not only contribute to an overall better mood, but they also play a big part in our energy levels. One would think that physical activity will tire you more quickly, and that is true to some extent if you over-exercise or don’t fuel properly, but that release of feel-good hormones will, in fact, give you an instant boost of energy.
We’ve all been at some point in our lives where running felt like a struggle rather than a source of energy, but by implementing exercise as a regular part of our lives, we condition the body to perform better over time.
How Does Outdoor Running Reduce Cardiovascular Risk Factors?
We don’t call running ‘cardio’ for nothing. This form of exercise is one of the most efficient ways to improve your overall cardiovascular health and risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, and blood sugar sensitivity. Taking care of our heart health by exercising regularly and eating well is essential.
Which Vitamins are produced from running outdoors?
Excessive time spent inside manifests itself into another deficiency in a great percentage of people. That is the lack of Vitamin D, a vital regulator of nutrients that help maintain bone and muscle health. We get a fair amount of this vitamin from direct sunlight on our skin, therefore a run outside doubles as a way to get your daily dose of it.
How Does Running Outdoors Strengthen Immune System?
While there are numerous factors that contribute to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercise makes for an important part of it. Running and other forms of physical activity have shown to be a great tool in strengthening the immune system, due to the increase of blood and lymph flow and the circulation of immune cells as the muscles contract.
How does Running Outdoors help with weight loss?
Maintaining a healthy weight is another important component for overall better health. Moreover, obesity and a high body mass index have been determined as one among high-risk factors for more severe and fatal cases of the virus worldwide, thus further highlighting the significance of this issue. Running outdoors during these times can be an ideal way to shed off some extra pounds, as it is a form of exercise that burns the most calories in comparison to others. Other than that, making time for a run can further motivate you to modify your eating habits as well, which is a crucial factor in healthy weight loss.
How does running outdoors help manage stress?
These were some of the many ways that we can benefit from running outdoors. The positive outlook that exercise can bring, together with the joy of being in open air, make for a much-needed addition in an otherwise tumultuous period in our lives. Remember to protect yourself and others by wearing a mask in areas where you can’t maintain physical distance and to practice good hygiene. Happy running and stay safe!
Helping me to write this article is Stella Larson. She is a subject matter expert on running and more of her work can be found at The Running Insider.