The science is in: just like the rest of the animal kingdom, humans are meant to be outdoors. We aren’t meant to spend all day under unnatural fluorescent lighting, or constantly stare at screens, or lay on the couch all day. More and more, studies are reveling just how severely those actions can impact our health.

While social media and other internet sources serve as great inspiration to start a fitness regime, many Americans are choosing to move indoors, opting for a gym membership over the endless opportunities of natural outdoor terrain.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 10.05.50 AMWinter blues got you down? Try winter outdoor sports like cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snow shoeing or ice skating! 

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 10.05.28 AMBicycling is a great form of exercise and way to explore the vastness of nature!

While it’s awesome seeing millions of people committing to exercise routines (from crossfit, to spinning, to yoga and pilates), it’s a shame that gym-fanatics are missing out on the enumerable physical, mental, and emotional benefits of outdoor exercise. Physiologists, psychologists, and other scientists are only beginning to quantify just what these benefits are, and why outdoor exercise continually proves to be more holistically beneficial to human health and wellness than alternative indoor activities.

Here are a few surprising benefits:

  • Eases depression: A study from the University of Michigan linked regular nature walks to enhanced mental health and positivity, as well as a significant reduction in depression and feelings of stress. The Vitamin D boost from sunshine helps with this as well.

  • Lessens anxiety: Natural scents of various plants can lower anxiety and boost moods. Research shows that that scent of pine decreases stress and increases relaxation.

  • Increases focus: A study published in Psychological Science found interactions with nature give human brains a break from overstimulation, which can restore concentration and attention levels.

  • Strengthens immunity: exercise causes a natural increase in killer cells, neutrophils and monocytes, which increase immune function.

  • Assists with healthy aging: A study published in the Journal of Aging Health found that people who spend time outside daily stay healthy and functioning longer than those who spend fewer time outdoors.

  • Naturally energizing: Research shows that spending time in fresh air in natural landscapes increases energy in 90 percent of people.

Regardless of the science behind it, outdoor-based exercise and recreation is simply FUN! It incites a sense of adventure, playfulness, and child-like wonder that simply cannot be achieved inside four walls of a gym. Whether you choose to run, bike, hike, climb, boat, or play, spending time under the sun is seriously good for you.

Delaware North provides unique opportunities for guests to get out and explore special places. Whether it be fueling you up for a day’s adventure, providing you with a good night’s sleep, or informing you about local exploration opportunities, Delaware North properties are the perfect launching point for your next outdoor adventure.