You've probably heard it before: a short walk in the fresh air or an outdoor workout can work wonders. It helps to clear your head and you simply feel better afterwards. But why is that actually the case? 

Numerous scientific studies have investigated why exercise outdoors is so good for people. Physical activity and fresh air individually have positive effects on health. Combine physical activity and fresh air and you have a miracle weapon that has a positive effect on your mood, physical and mental health

 

Sport and fresh air make you happier

Going outside has been proven to make people happier. This is due to the release of the body's own hormone serotonin, which acts as a natural antidepressant. If you can also fit in a small outdoor sports session, your body will also release additional happiness hormones endorphins and serotonin. So even a short session of 20 minutes a day (or 120 minutes per week) can be enough to significantly boost your health and happiness, a 2019 study found.  

"Nature on prescription" to reduce stress

Exercise outdoors not only makes you happier, it also reduces existing stress and discomfort. Studies show that a natural environment leads to less of the stress hormone cortisol being released. This reduces the risk of stress-induced mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression. And physical activity is also known to be a stress killer, as it boosts our metabolism, lowering our blood sugar, blood lipids, and indeed stress hormone levels, as well as increasing the production of happy hormones such as endorphins and serotonin. 

Tips to include more fresh air into your daily routine

  • If you're indoors a lot during the day, try taking a short break where you can get some air. Take a 5-10 minute walk with colleagues. 
    Shift your exercise routine outdoors: instead of logging miles on the treadmill, put on your outdoor shoes and go for a jog in nature.
  • Try a new sport that takes place outside: How about trying something new? This mountain bike course for beginners will give you everything your health needs.
  • Weekend sports activities: Instead of spending the whole weekend indoors with coffee and cake, why not try an outdoor activity with friends? How about rafting or canyoning?