The new year is officially in full swing, but that doesn’t mean you should throw your resolutions out the window just yet, especially if they’re health-related. In fact, a new study published on January 1revealed that engaging in outdoor activities and enjoying the fresh air is actually better for your health than working out inside.
The study was performed by Ian Walker, a student at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador. As an environment and sustainability student, the soon-to-be graduate decided to research the mental and physical benefits of exercising outside rather than working out indoors through a survey.
The survey says: everyone loves the outdoors.
“People talked about fresh air, getting outside and the mental clarity that comes with exercising outdoors as opposed to indoors,” Walker noted.
And if the cold is keeping you at bay, don’t hesitate to bundle up. Another recent study suggests that working out in the cold can make your workouts more effective.
According to Healthline, mounting evidence from a variety of sources claims that cold weather helps our bodies burn calories more efficiently. This residual evolutionary trait engages brown fat, the insulating fat that keeps our bodies warm. In even mildly cold temperatures, your brown fat will work hard to keep you warm, burning energy in the process.
On top of that, working out in the cold keeps your heart rate down.
“Running with a lower heart rate will also make you feel less exhausted so distance running can actually feel easier in the cold weather,” claims trainer Meg Takacs.
There’s no better time than the present to get engaged in outdoor activity, even if it is a little too chilly. Here are some healthy hobbies you can engage in to kickstart your new year.
Brave the cold
Don’t put off starting healthy hobbies until the weather warms up — as mentioned earlier, exercising in the cold is a great way to jumpstart your fitness journey. Whether that means you sign up for skiing lessons, buy a used pair of snowshoes, or simply try taking your dog for a walk in the winter, there are plenty of winter activities that can make you a fitness aficionado all year round.
Get the whole family involved
Unfortunately, far too many people have a tendency to stay indoors. According to a study performed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American will spend the majority of their life looking out a window; nearly 93% of our time is spent indoors and this habit is only on the rise.
One of the best aspects of outdoor exercise is the ability to get your whole family involved. While you might not tote your toddler to the gym, you might be able to instill a love of skiing or sledding in them at a young age. While children see some healthy habits, like brushing their teeth as a chore — nearly 40% of children have cavities before they reach kindergarten — slipping in healthy habits under the radar can trick your child into loving physical activity.
You might be tempted to gorge yourself on local cuisine when you travel, but traveling is a healthy habit if you’ve got a case of wanderlust. The amount of time spent walking, sightseeing, and engaging in activities while you’re on the move often negates the delicacies you enjoyed at brunch.
It’s estimated that Millennials alone will spend $1.4 trillion on travel this year. If you want to enjoy new experiences and engage in healthy habits, try traveling to a new destination, even if it’s the next town over.