Get out! The added benefits of 'green exercise'

Laura and Cort Seymour of Louisville, Ky.

New research is suggesting that “green exercising,” or working out outdoors, has even more health benefits than working out at a gym or in your home. Studies show that when people exercise outdoors, they tend to work out longer, burn more calories and have a better mental outlook.

You’ll work out longer. Whether you realize it or not, being outside is pleasant, therefore you stay out longer. This can be especially energizing for people who do not regularly exercise. Getting outdoors can be the motivation needed to get into a more regular exercise routine. For those who do exercise regularly, taking a break from the gym can breathe new air into an exercise routine. And speaking of air, the fresh outdoor air gives your endorphins a boost and recharges your energy. The result? You’ll work out longer without even noticing.

You’ll burn more calories. This goes hand-in-hand with working out longer. Plus, outdoor exercise tends to be more strenuous than indoor exercise. Wind resistance, changes in terrain and sometimes temperature can cause you to burn up to 7 percent more calories than an indoor workout.

You’ll be happier. Green exercise can have a 50 percent greater positive effect on mental health than indoor exercise. Those who exercise outside report less tension, anger and depression. Even just five minutes of outdoor exercise can significantly improve mood and self-esteem. It helps us concentrate and clear our minds of the day’s stress and anxiety.

Other benefits. There are many. You’ll save money if you give up a gym membership. You have more freedom to work out when you want. And, if you want to get scientific about it, you may also experience the “biophilia hypothesis,” which says spending time in nature creates a closeness with it that improves understanding of the importance of caring for it. This can lead to transformations in both people and nature as people are motivated to take better care of their environment.

–Jennifer Reynolds

Bike to Beat Cancer

Get exercise and fresh air while helping thousands in our community touched by cancer. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced cyclist, there’s a distance option for you. The goal of the fundraising ride is to help people beat cancer by offering the best programs, services and advanced care available.

Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 • 8 a.m.
Kosair Children’s Medical Center – Brownsboro
To register and for more information, visit BiketoBeatCancer.org.

Louisville Kidney Walk

Get into the green exercising routine and join an important cause — the National Kidney Foundation’s 2013 Kidney Walk. This fun, inspiring community fundraising event calls attention to the prevention of kidney disease and the need for organ donation. Each year, 112,000 people are diagnosed with kidney failure. That’s one person every five minutes.

Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013
Waterfront Park • Louisville
Check-in: 1 p.m. • Walk: 2 p.m.
For details, visit http://donate.kidney.org.