There is no better time than autumn to head outdoors and enjoy the cool, crisp refreshing fresh air. We will all be cooped up inside soon enough, so be sure to find your favorite outdoor activity and venture outside and take advantage of the health benefits of being outside!
Health Benefits of Being Outside
There are plenty of opportunities to indulge in fresh air and you don’t need any special equipment to do so. Just walk out you door. Yes, walking is a great way to get your body moving. There are numerous health benefits associated with putting one foot in front of the other. Among other things, walking helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lose fat; strengthens bones and muscles; increases energy levels; strengthens the immune system; and improves sleep.
Monitor Your Pace
Keep in mind that the faster, farther and more frequently you walk the better the benefits will be. Start at an average pace for you, then work your way up to walking faster and completing a mile in less time. This will not only burn calories, but will boost your aerobic activity, improve your heart heath and increase your endurance. You may also want to try interval training which are short bursts of brisk activity followed by a slower pace.
Set Your Goals
Here are some general guidelines to follow if you are a healthy adult. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting on a weekly basis at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both. If you aren’t a regular walker, start out slowly. Begin with just 5 minutes a day the first week, then add on 5 minutes each week until you reach 30 minutes.
Get Your Vitamin D
Whether you like to bike, hike or play a sport, spending time outdoors in the fresh air helps your body absorb certain minerals, like calcium and phosphorous. Your body also needs sunlight to make Vitamin D, which is important for your bones, blood cells and immune system. Plus, being in the sun helps set your sleep cycle, especially as we age.
Keep Yourself Motivated
Getting outside time also improves your focus, boosts your self-esteem, and improves your immunity and mental health. A good walk in the fresh air will help you connect more with people and places in your community. Need help getting motivated to stick to your new healthy habit? Start with a simple goal, like a 5-10 minute walk during your lunch break. Walk with a friend or neighbor, or join a walking group. If you like to walk alone, listen to music. Plan several different walking routes and switch things up regularly. Try a city or state park to get yourself out of your neighborhood. Also, check out local hiking trails for a change of pace and scenery.
Freshen the Air in Your Home
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