The scientific literature is packed with studies that confirm the multitude of benefits we get from exercising. Everything from building strong bones to enhancing immunity and even improving your mood can be achieved just by being physically active. Let's face it, when it comes to health, exercise is the closest thing to a magic bullet that we have! Yet, the trick for many of us is finding ways to stick with it. Mother Nature provides a solution.
A 2011 literature review published by researchers from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom revealed that people who exercised in "outdoor natural environments" reported a greater intent to repeat the activity. The researchers also discovered that compared to exercising indoors, the outdoor exercisers said they felt more revitalized, positive, and energetic and felt less tension, depression, and anger. No wonder they wanted to repeat the behavior! A 2009 published study found that outdoor exercisers felt more restored and that the "restorative quality predicted the frequency of exercise..." The more restored the exercisers felt, the more frequently they exercised.
Being physically active outdoors is now termed "green exercise." As it turns out, kids can also get a great deal of benefit from green exercise. A 2011 study showed that kids with Attention Deficit Disorder had fewer symptoms after they spent time being active outdoors. In 2008 The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a report stating that the amount of "green space" in a child's neighborhood impacted Body Mass Index (BMI). If we want to decrease childhood obesity—which is increasing at an astounding rate—we need to encourage more green exercise. Another 2008 study showed that kids who spent more time outdoors had a 27 to 41 percent lower chance of being overweight than kids who spent most of their time indoors.