Take advantage of the benefits of outdoor exercise to boost orthopedic health. Recent studies show that certain advantages of exercising outside, such as natural elevation changes, wind resistance and vitamin D absorption, can’t be replicated by indoor alternatives. This season, OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates suggests incorporating outdoor activities to reap the added benefits.
Why Exercise Outdoors?
Taking a workout routine outdoors can have several advantages such as increasing overall physical activity and helping the body get necessary vitamins and nutrients.
On average, those who exercise outside complete 30 minutes more exercise each week than those who exercise indoors, the New York Times reports.
According to a study published in The National Center for Biotechnology Information, outdoor environments may provide health benefits by increasing physical activity levels with lower levels of perceived exertion, meaning that while exercising outdoors may be more difficult, it doesn’t feel any more strenuous than exercising indoors.
In addition, spending time in the sun, with sunscreen and protective clothing, is a natural way for the body to get Vitamin D, which is essential to orthopedic health as it helps the body absorb calcium, a mineral that strengthens muscles, bones and joints.
Which Outdoor Exercises Should I Try?
Hiking, walking and swimming are excellent outdoor activities to incorporate into a regular exercise routine.
Hiking and walking outdoors allow the body to work different muscles than it would walking indoors. For example, natural changes in terrain while hiking, such as going uphill or downhill, activate a wide range of muscles in the lower body that aren’t activated by walking on a flat surface. Even subtle wind resistance and changes in elevation can result in a more strenuous workout.
Swimming is another ideal exercise that not only offers an active way to stay cool during warmer months, but also provides an effective, low-impact workout and a natural way to get Vitamin D when practiced outside.
For those with osteoarthritis, swimming is a great option because it provides a full-body, low-impact workout that doesn’t cause additional wear and tear to bones and joints. Swimming can also help maintain muscle tone and mobility to help reduce pain and prevent further joint damage.