‘Liberté Fitness investigates the health benefits of exercising outside’

‘There is increasing evidence that access to high quality green spaces can produce measurable improvements to stress levels in a relatively short space of time’ Julia Thrift, Journal of Public Mental Health (2005).

When you get stressed, what calms you? Some people crave comfort food whilst others turn to alcohol but did you know there is considerable research linking outside green space with your mental and physical wellbeing? There is more to going for a walk to clear your head then you realise. Natural, open spaces where you can view wildlife and nature, increase concentration and reduce stress. Surrounding yourself by nature can aid physical recovery from illnesses and outdoor exercise on arrival from a long haul flight has even been proven to reduce jet lag.

What is green exercise?

If your body benefits by being at one with nature in a green space, imagine the health advantages to exercising outside. Research shows exercising outside or ‘green exercise’ as it is commonly known, improves mood and self esteem in all ages and reduces the prevalence of physical inactivity that leads to higher rates of illnesses such as heart disease, obesity and heart related illnesses in urban areas. Regardless of the weather or the seasons, the benefits of exercising outside far outweigh those of training indoors in a gym. In the summer, sunlight stimulates our bodies to make vitamin D, essential for bone and organ health.

People with high levels of vitamin D can alleviate depression and reduce insomnia. Combine this with the ‘endorphins’ released after exercise and you will soon notice a huge difference in your mood after exercising in the great outdoors. You will feel happy, relaxed, stress free and at one with nature.

Even in the winter when it is challenging to embrace the cold, we benefit more from exercising outdoors when temperatures drop than we do in the heat as our bodies tolerate activity better in the cold and we can exercise for longer and burn more fat. Previously, research suggested training outside can burn up to 20% more calories than indoors because of battling against the weather and the terrain but this could now be as much as up to 30%. You burn more energy running outdoors as the lack of air resistance makes it less of an effort to run indoors on a treadmill.

People new to green exercise think they will miss the lack of music that normally accompanies exercise. However, training in a park with no noise other than wildlife busying around you allows your brain to switch off from daily stresses of modern life and to reconnect with your body. During an outdoor fitness class you are so busy concentrating on the instructors exercises; your brain releases any worries and troubles; it seems impossible for it to cope with both things at once. Exercising outside invokes feelings of freedom and a lack of boundaries that you do not get indoors. At the end of an outdoor training session, those who were concerned they needed music to motivate them to exercise harder admitted they did not even miss it.

Where can I do outdoor fitness in Bury St Edmunds and what will a session consist of?

Liberté Fitness is the lead outdoor fitness provider in Bury St Edmunds. They train at Nowton Park throughout the year. The sessions focus on improving both health and fitness and consist of different forms of training and compound exercises from cardiovascular, circuit training, toning and reshaping to team games. All the sessions are taught by qualified instructors who will ensure you reach your maximum potential each and every time and people of all ages, sex, shapes, sizes and fitness levels are welcome.

Register online for a free hour trial session please visit www.libertefitness.co.uk

So what are you waiting for? Change your scenery, liberate yourself from the gym and come and exercise with us in the great outdoors. Your mental and physical wellbeing will thank you for it.