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Greatest Mental And Emotional Health Benefits Found During Outdoor Exercise

May 22, 2020


One of things I love most about Colorado is the ability to get outside anytime of year and participate in all the outdoor activities our great state has to offer. Especially in stressful times like today each of us needs the steam release valve only exercise can provide. The mental and emotional health benefits of exercise are well established on two fronts. Physically active adults are less at risk of mental and emotional diagnoses including anxiety and depression and exercise’s effectiveness at reducing both state and trait anxiety and depression. An important side note those with symptoms of anxiety and depression should concurrently work with a mental health provider for their symptoms. A recent study highlights why if given the choice we should take advantage of the great outdoors.

Lacharite-Lemieux and colleagues studied the impact of indoor vs. outdoor combined aerobic and strength training on a group of middle to older aged adults (Menopause. 2015). Authors randomized individuals to either an indoor or outdoor setting utilizing an identical one hour workout, three times a week for 12 weeks. Authors were primarily interested in measuring the impact of these two programs on mental and emotional health variables including depression and adherence to future exercise programs. Authors reported both groups improved on physical activity measurements, but only the outdoor group demonstrated significant reductions in depression symptoms. In addition, the outdoor group reported significantly higher enjoyment and adherence to the program compared to their indoor peers.

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