It can be difficult to find ways to incorporate outdoor workouts when you live in the city, but small doses of sunshine on a regular basis can improve mood, sleep quality, and resilience. Adding outdoor exercise to your workout routine offers enough benefits that it’s worth the effort to find ways to sweat in the sun.
Get Stronger with Vitamin D
It’s hard for anyone to get enough Vitamin D through diet and supplements, but the human body is able to synthesize this essential substance when our skin is exposed to the sun’s rays. Higher Vitamin D levels are associated with decreased inflammation, well-regulated cell growth cycles, and even stronger bones.
Improve Your Mood
You’re probably pretty well-versed in Seasoal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is caused due to a lack of sun exposure during winter months and prolonged rainy weather. What’s the cure for SAD? Sunlight! Researchers have found that sunlight increases the body’s serotonin levels and can help fight stress and prevent depression. Get outside and get happy!
Build Better Sleep
Spending just 20 minutes outside every day, especially in the morning hours, can improve sleep quality at night by reinforcing your natural circadian rhythm. Scientists say that boosting serotonin levels naturally leads to an increase in serotonin’s alter-ego, melatonin. As melatonin levels rise in the evening, it’s easier for us to catch some restorative sleep and stave off insomnia.
Improve Overall Health
When your body is operating on its optimal circadian rhythm, all systems are better able to work together to self-regulate. That means that blood pressure, blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity, and even feelings of fullness after a meal (regulated by the hormone leptin), are all in better balance when the body’s circadian rhythm is optimized.
While you’ll benefit from getting outside by yourself, there’s a body research that suggests that outdoor activities with other people provide even more benefits. When you exercise in the sunlight with others, the social interaction and competitive nature of group sports by providing a simultaneous connection to the outdoors, ourselves, and to others.
What’s great about membership at Etage Athletic is that our rooftop space provides all of the above. Meet up with others for a game of pickup basketball, enjoy a small-group or HIIT class outside, or simply set up your mat on the roof for a great workout that gets you outside.
Stay Safe in the Sun
While 5-15 minutes of sun exposure on your face, arms, and legs can do wonders for physical and mental health, it’s a good idea to apply sunscreen if you’ll be outside (even on overcast days) for more than 15 minutes at a stretch. Protect yourself from harmful UV rays with a high-quality sunscreen that lets the sunshine in, but also prevents sun damage.