For an Instant Mood Boost, Spring into Action with Outdoor Exercise

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As the warmer weather approaches, you might find yourself drawn to being outside, for a good reason. The sun is a natural mood booster, and there are studies to prove it. One 2013 study published in the “Innovations In Clinical Neuroscience” journal found that serotonin levels were higher when people were exposed to sunlight. Serotonin is one of the “happy chemicals,” or neurotransmitters released by your brain when exercising.

Speaking of exercising…

Combining exercise with the great outdoors may be just the boost you’ve been needing. Many people are still leery of getting back into a crowded gym, and the springtime offers prime weather for taking that workout outside. Sure, a light jacket may be necessary, but the benefits are worth covering up.

Walking, jogging, and running outside won’t just burn calories; if you pick a time when the sun is shining, your exercise routine will give you more of a double mood boost. Warmer, brighter weather, and chirping birds have a way of lifting the spirits. However, you don’t have to limit your workout to cardio.

Strength training outdoors is easier than you may think. At the beach, you can enjoy the ocean breeze as you practice mindful yoga. Or, you can feel the sand beneath your forearms as you practice 30 second planks. Walking lunges are another great movement to perform in the sand, no weights needed. Just find a bench and get your step-up on.

Can’t get to the beach? Find a playground! You can use the monkey bars for pull-ups and hanging leg raises or the swings to strengthen your legs—this will get your heart pumping. Add in squats and reverse lunges while you’re there.

Bodyweight exercises are effective for building muscle and burning fat; the beauty of these is that they can be performed anywhere. When you exercise outdoors, you get the soothing benefits of being in nature, the mood-enhancing effects of the sun, and if you’re surrounded by greenery and trees, you’re likely to have cleaner oxygen to breathe in. For an added bonus, outdoor workouts are free. So, get your favorite sneakers and hit the pavement to burn calories, build muscle, and boost your mood.