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By Tara Curran

Monday, February 21, 2011.

We all know that exercise is good for us but do we know why? Participating in regular exercise is proven to have a multitude of benefits including weight loss, an increase in muscle strength and endurance a boost in self esteem and a surge in our metabolism. Physical activity is also associated with a decrease in blood pressure and cholesterol and a reduced risk of developing medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. So surely nothing could be better than some regular exercise? Well nothing except regular OUTDOOR exercise.

Exercising outdoors gives us all the benefits of a workout with the added bonus of all that lovely fresh air. After a long day cooped up indoors what better way to blow off the cobwebs then to spend some time in the great outdoors. Our body needs fresh air to supply oxygen to our body and mind allowing us to function efficiently. Al fresco exercise is also associated with an elevated mood, so why not try it today?

Many people find that they sleep better if they are partaking in regular exercise; others find that the fresh air, like a nice sea breeze, helps them to sleep so why not combine the two? One thing is for sure, exercise helps to relieve stress while fresh air does wonders for clearing our mind, so together they are a winning combination.



There are an ever growing number of organised outdoor activities taking place all over the country. From the traditional team sports like soccer, rugby and hockey to individual activities like walking and running. If you’re looking for something different why not learn a new sport like tennis. If you’re up for a challenge enrol in one of the many boot camps where you will be whipped into shape by a no-nonsense trainer. Those adrenaline junkies amongst you could give rock-climbing or kayaking a go. There really is an outdoor activity for everyone regardless of your fitness level.

For many people exercise can be a bit of a chore but why not make it into a fun social occasion? There are many organised walking groups and running clubs to join where you can meet new people. Or you could organise with your friends to meet up and go for a walk, that way you can catch up without the tea and biscuits.

For those of you who are focused on weight loss, here is a quick guide to the amount of calories a 70kg person would burn over 30 minutes during some popular outdoor activities. If you weigh more than this than you will burn more calories, if you weigh less, then you will burn less. Hopefully this little guide will help motivate you to kick start your new love of the outdoors.

Walking: 110 calories

Jogging: 300 calories

Cycling: 275 calories

Tennis: 275 calories

Soccer: 340 calories

Hockey: 275 calories

Canoeing: 240 calories

Rock climbing: 375 calories


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