I specialise in outdoor fitness (but can train in your home too, especially if it’s raining).
MY MOTTO – ESCAPE THE GYM
Escape the gym, get fit in the fresh air of Hackney’s parks. It’s my motto for a good reason.
Here are 6 research-backed benefits to take your personal training sessions outdoors in Hackney’s green spaces.
1. YOU SIMPLY BURN MORE CALORIES OUTDOORS
“You burn around 7 percent more calories running outside than indoors on a treadmill” says John Porcari, Ph.D, Director of the Clinical Exercise Physiology program at the University of Wisconsin, taking wind resistance, terrain and variations in temperature into account.
Plus, when people train outdoors, they tend to spend longer doing it. An outdoor fitness science study found that people who were active outside did at least 30 minutes more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week than those who only did it inside. It also made them feel healthier.
2. SEEING ‘GREEN’ BOOSTS YOUR MIND AND BODY
Feel more positive and calm when strolling through the green grass of Hackney’s parks? Here’s why. A visual colour perception study by the University of Essex, reveals the positive well-being effects of exercising in a visually ‘green’ environment.
“The colour green, a primitive visual feature of natural environments, contributes to a positive green exercise effect“University of Essex, Visual Colour Perception Study
Nature has a way of making people feel calm too, and exercising outside can strengthen that effect. A small 2015 study found that people who walked for 90 minutes outside were less likely to ruminate on their problems and had less activity in the brain area linked to depression, compared to people who took similar walks, but in urban areas.
3. IT LOWERS YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
Exercising outdoors is also good for the heart. A recent study estimated that nearly 10% of people with high blood pressure could get their levels under control if they spent at least 30 minutes in a park each week, partly because of the heart-related benefits of getting fresh air and lowering stress. In Japan, public health experts recommend people spend time walking outdoors, a practice called ‘shinrin-yoku’. Researchers in Japan have linked this with lower levels of the blood pressure-raising stress hormone, cortisol.
“When we walk in a park, our levels of white blood cells increase and it also lowers our pulse rate, blood pressure and level of the stress hormone cortisol”Dr. Aaron Michelfelder | Professor Of Medicine | Loyola University Chicago
4. IT IMPROVES YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Some outdoor fitness science research suggests that when people are outdoors in nature, they inhale aromatic compounds from plants called phytoncides. These can increase their number of natural killer cells, a type of white blood cell that supports the immune system. These cells are also believed to be important in fighting infections and inflammation, a common marker of disease. What better excuse for an immune-system-boosting run in Victoria Park!
“In one study researchers found that people who took a long walk through a forest for two days in a row increased their natural killer cells by 50%“
5. IT’S MORE FUN THAN THE GYM
When people exercise outside, they feel better and enjoy the exercise more, studies suggest. “Enjoyment is an important pathway to the mental health impacts of physical activity,” says Rebecca Lovell, a research fellow at the University of Exeter in the UK. Exercising outside is also a great alternative for those who don’t want to go to the gym.
A review of research found that people who exercised outside reported feeling more revitalized, engaged and energized than those who did it indoors. The researchers also found that people who exercised outside felt less tension, anger and depression.
6. YOU BOOST YOUR VITAMIN D LEVELS
Unlike when you exercise indoors in a gym environment, being out in the fresh air of Hackney’s open spaces exposes you to vitamin D which brings its own set of health benefits. Vitamin D is essential for maintaining strong, healthy bones but it also has an important part to play in muscle health and even immune function too.
“A prescription for better health? Go alfresco”Harvard Medical School | Harvard Health Publishing