With summer fast approaching it is a perfect time to get outside and make the most of the sunny weather, while keeping fit with some outdoor sport. While there are obvious benefits of exercise, the addition of doing it out in nature has added advantages for your physical and mental health. Increased exposure to the sun will increase levels of vitamin D, needed by the body for the absorption and metabolizing of calcium and phosphorus. Working out in a more natural environment, with less physical restrictions increases energy levels while decreasing levels of stress, anger, and even to a certain extent, depression.
One of America's favorite pastimes, baseball is a perfect summer sport, not least because it works out many muscles groups in the arms, thighs, and lower legs. As well as building strength, baseball is excellent cardiovascular exercise, and also works to improve hand-eye coordination. As players need to be focussed fully on the game, it has been seen that baseball can be effective at reducing stress levels while the addition of playing outside can lower cortisol levels, the hormone responsible for the stress response to situations.
The quintessential summer sport, tennis works the mind just as much as it works the muscles in the arms, legs, and upper body. A game of geometry and physics, tennis players have to concentrate on the best strategy to win their match and studies have shown that this way of thinking may generate new connections in the brain and promote brain development that continues through life. Alongside this, tennis increases oxygen intake, heart rate, and helps the blood deliver oxygen and nutrients to muscles more efficiently, to increase muscle growth. The quick anaerobic movements punctuated with pauses at the end of each point encourage faster rate of fat burning, and higher energy levels which, in turn, reduces risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
While swimming is undoubtedly one of the best sports, as it works all muscles as well as supporting the body which reduces strain on joints, even more health benefits can be reaped from the exercise when done outdoors. Cold water swimming has been proven to boost the immune system, as the sudden plunge into cooler water shocks the body, causing it to produce more white blood cells. Furthermore, outdoor swimming has been seen to improve sleep as the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for rest and repair, is stimulated by the colder temperature. As well as helping you to feel more rested, outdoor swimming can have a positive psychological effect, encouraging a sense of well-being, and boosting energy levels, while reducing stress levels.
Make the most of this summer by, not only getting out and enjoying the warmer weather, but also by reaping the plentiful rewards of outdoor exercise.