Exercising outdoors. Why?

The longest day of the year is nearly upon us. I love this time of even if you have to work late, there still seems to be endless amounts of time to get out and about in the evenings.

So what are the benefits of getting outdoors and exercising?

In terms of running, when you are outside you are more in tune with your body. Your stride length and pace are unregulated so you can speed up or slow down and your joints adjust and adapt allowing you to run more naturally. Getting away from the gym means that the variables of speed and distance aren’t propped up on a screen in front of you, constant reminders of what you ran yesterday or last week. And running on a treadmill is just simply boring when compared to being outside in the open air. Plus if you are ever planning to do any races you really need to get outside and get your body attuned to running outdoors.

Vitamin D is another good reason to exercise outside. Even though we don’t get a whole lot of sunshine in Ireland all you need is a bit of unprotected exposure, about three 5 minute sessions a day. Vitamin D has many health benefits, from helping to build strong bones to reducing inflammation which can impair our immune system. Along with calcium the body uses it to build strong bones and thus prevents problems like osteoporosis. Low levels of vitamin D have also been linked to the common cold, heart disease and diabetes. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory in our body.

Although the sun is the best source of vitamin D some foods also contain it. Fish in particular is high in vitamin D; salmon, tinned sardines and tinned tuna are excellent sources. If fish isn’t to your liking then eggs also offer some of the vitamin. The key is to include lots of calcium rich foods in your diet also; milk, yogurt, leafy green vegetables and seeds are great natural calcium rich foods.

So lace up and get outdoors for a run or cycle or just a bit of a stroll, you'll feel the benefits :)

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