Get out!: Why Getting Some Outdoor Action Boosts Happiness ...

It seems as if we are always full of good intention about exercise. Sadly though, once reality kicks in, and the thought of squeezing into some Lycra and watching yourself wobble all over the running machine becomes too much, we so often decide to ignore the expensive direct debits coming out of our banks accounts for the gym membership and opt for a cup of tea and chocolate biscuit on the sofa.

But there is a solution: a simple, free solution that almost everyone can use. It’s not a state secret, or even a mystical piece of knowledge that only personal trainers know of - it’s exercising in the great outdoors. It seems too easy, doesn’t it? But the benefits of exercising outdoors are well documented, and it’s not just your slightly over-indulged body that will thank you for it, your spirits will be raised and your bank balance won’t suffer either!

With the exception of during the daily commute, the majority of people spend most of the working day inside. And once that is combined with busy city living, it’s not surprising that we are becoming increasingly disconnected from the outside world and its benefits. When we think of our favorite holiday activities, sightseeing, walking and enjoying the world around us are always up there, and they make for a really enjoyable holiday, but we so rarely bring those good habits back home with us.

Here are the 3 top benefits of exercising outdoors:

1. Release Those Endorphins

Endorphin is a term that is loosely bandied about when the benefits of exercise are mentioned. Basically, endorphins are the body’s naturally occurring narcotics; they are in the group of chemicals called opiates, which includes morphine and heroin. Endorphins are released by the body in response to stimuli such as exercise (and, yes, we’ve all heard, sex), and create a feeling of euphoria.

Long distance runners often talk about “going through the pain barrier,” and it is endorphins that make this possible. They override the body’s natural reaction to stop when pain occurs. They are also responsible for that wonderful smug feeling of well being when you’ve sweated yourself silly at the gym. And what’s more, like their illegal counterparts, these opiates are also addictive. Many of us find the idea of exercise being addictive completely incomprehensible, but given time, your body will become hooked.