6 Science-Backed Benefits of Taking Your Workout Outdoors

A group of people doing an outdoor workout on yoga mats while facing the NYC skyline

We love working out with you in the studio, at home On Demand, and really everywhere you are. Taking your workout outside is also an amazing way to switch up your regular routine and get extra perks. 

In honor of Earth Day, we want to celebrate the incredible science-backed benefits of nature for your body, mind, and spirit! Research shows that spending at least 2 hours a week in nature, whether in regular doses or one long stretch at a time, is associated with enhanced physical and mental health ¹. 

Whether you’re taking a Physique 57 Outdoor workout class, streaming an On Demand workout from a park or your backyard, going for a hike, or simply taking a walk with your morning coffee, get outside today! Soak up the sun, feel the ground beneath your feet, listen to the sounds of nature, and breathe in all the beauty around you — you deserve it!

Read on as we break down the benefits of getting out in nature for your mood, energy, immunity, and more. 

Soothes stress & boost mood 

Take in fresh air…release stress, anxiety, and overwhelm! Spending just 20 minutes a day outside in nature can significantly lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, according to a study in the journal Frontiers in Psychology ². Lowering your cortisol levels will help you bring on calm, balance, and peace.

Another study found that people who did a nature walk had lower activity in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region that is associated with nagging thoughts and negative emotions ³. Simply seeing trees, hearing the sound of birds, and looking at the sky can take the brain away from these negative thought patterns and shift your focus toward positivity and gratitude.

Increases energy levels

Try swapping that next cup of coffee for just a few minutes in the sunshine — it’s a natural pick-me-up! Time in nature helps ward off feelings of exhaustion and sluggishness. Research shows that 90 percent of study participants reported increased energy levels when outdoors ⁴. 

Strengthens immunity 

Being in nature affects our central nervous system, giving our bodies the signal that it’s time to kick back and take it easy. The serenity of nature switches our nervous system from “fight or flight” mode to “rest and digest” mode. When our bodies are relaxed, we know it’s safe to invest resources toward our immune system. 

Taking walks outside can also lower levels of cytokines, inflammatory peptides in the immune system that have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and depression ⁵. The lower these levels are, the healthier you’ll be!

Protects heart health 

Spending time outside in green spaces is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure ⁶. 

Here’s a super simple practice you can try: Kick off your shoes and feel the ground beneath your feet and the grass between your toes. This ritual, called earthing, might seem a little out there, but it’s an amazing way to ground your mind and protect your heart. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that earthing can reduce blood viscosity, making it one of the simplest and most profound ways to enhance your heart health ⁷. 

Supports post-workout recovery

We know your muscles are feeling lean, strong, sculpted — and probably a little sore — from rocking your Physique 57 workouts! Taking it outdoors can actually help soothe post-workout soreness and speed up your recovery process. 

People who spent time in nature had less post-workout inflammation and therefore experienced less delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and recovered faster between workouts ⁸. So you can get back to the barre doing what you love!

Boosts brain power 

Starting to feel drained or lose focus in the middle of your workday? A walk or mid-day outdoor workout class may be the refresh your mind is craving! In a recent study, people who spent time walking in nature improved by almost 20 percent in memory, attention, and cognition tests ⁹. So getting out in nature really is a smart strategy! 😉 

Take it outside with us! Check out our outdoor class schedule HERE!

With Physique 57 outdoor workout classes, you can soak up all the benefits of being nature. Plus, it’s so fun and empowering to work out in community as a team! 

Here’s what you need to know: 

  • Classes are 45 minutes
  • No props needed
  • Bring your own mat, towel, and water
  • Masks required — you may lower during class
  • Social distanced spacing

We’ll see you outside!

Sources

  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44097-3?utm_medium=affiliate&utm_source=commission_junction&utm_campaign=3_nsn6445_deeplink_PID100109089&utm_content=deeplink