If you're struggling to keep moving and sustain a positive outlook right now, you’re not alone! With many of us in various states of lockdown around the world, due to COVID19, it can be hard to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.
Positive Education recognises the importance of Positive Health as an essential component of our physical and psychological wellbeing, which is why you might like to consider adding outdoor exercise* to your lockdown routine.
Here are 8 reasons why this might just be the strategy you need to boost your wellbeing.
We know that being in nature for at least 20 minutes a day can boost your wellbeing. However, there have been a number of studies where volunteers went for two walks for the same distance or time – one inside (on a treadmill or around a track), the other outside. Almost all the participants reported enjoying the outside activity more. In addition, psychological tests showed that exercising outdoors resulted in increases in vitality and energy, and decreases in anger and depression.
There are over 100 different studies showing that stress levels are lowered during activities that take place in either the wilderness or urban nature areas. That's great motivation to head to your local park or Botanical Garden for a mindful walk.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can strike when we're lacking vitamin D. Although it's important to 'Slip, Slop, Slap', getting outside can help your body absorb this vital vitamin which is beneficial for your bones, blood cells and immune system.
Studies have shown that, on average, people who run or walk outside exercise for longer than when using a treadmill indoors. Being outside can serve as a welcome distraction from the fact that you're exercising...and it's also a lot less tempting to simply quit running if you're still 3.5km away from home!
Research shows that you'll burn 10 percent more calories walking or running outdoors as opposed to using a treadmill at the same speed. Once again, the distraction of nature can help us to exert more effort!
Exposure to sunlight helps elevate your levels of serotonin. This, in turn, helps to increase your energy levels, while helping you to feel calm, positive and focused.
Getting outdoors helps to set our sleep cycle. There are cells in our eyes that need enough light to get our body’s internal clocks working correctly. Exposure to early morning sunlight can help people get to sleep at night. So, try to lace up those shoes and head outside bright and early!
Studies indicate that there’s a link between spending time in nature and being more focussed – so if you're feeling a little brain-drained, head outside on your lunch break if you can. You might just come back with some new, creative ideas!
Whether it’s a run in the morning, an evening stroll, Zumba in the backyard or a HIIT workout in the park, getting outside and getting moving can be of great benefit for people of all ages.
If you need to chat with someone, please reach out to your friends, family and colleagues, or contact:
Beyond Blue - 1300 22 4636
or another local mental health and wellbeing service.
*Before commencing any workout routine, please consult your doctor.
Aimee Bloom is the Product Manager at the Institute of Positive Education. She is responsible for crafting the Institute's Positive Education Enhanced Curriculum (PEEC) from ELC – 12. An experienced teacher and writer since 2005, Aimee has taught in both primary and secondary contexts, and has written content for a variety of government and non-government agencies. She is passionate about supporting teachers and ensuring the wellbeing of children, both in our schools and around the globe.