According to the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association, exercising outdoors improves both physical and mental health. It can lower anxiety levels, increase energy, and improve wellbeing by releasing endorphins. Outdoor exercise also promotes mindfulness and can reduce anxiety symptoms. Adding a mindfulness element, like concentrating on your breath or the sensation of the wind, can amplify these benefits4.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, interacting with nature doesn’t necessarily mean visiting forests or national parks. Simple activities such as walking to a nearby park, spending time in a friend’s garden, or observing the beauty of roadside trees and flowers can significantly contribute to improving mental health5.
Healthify encourages New Zealanders to enjoy the beauty of nature this summer and offers several tips for making the most of the outdoors. Simply stepping outside, even in urban areas, offers opportunities to appreciate parks, birds, trees, and flowers6:
- Practicing mindfulness in nature, such as going for a walk without distractions, can help reduce stress
- On clear nights, stargazing offers opportunities to learn about constellations and observe the southern lights
- Engaging with Aotearoa’s unique wildlife, through activities like bush walks, can be educational and fun
- Visiting local wildlife attractions or botanical gardens can be a great activity to share with family or friends.
The longer daylight hours of summer offer the perfect opportunity to prioritise some time for yourself. Doing pilates outdoors, especially in summer, has multiple benefits. Laura says exposure to morning sunlight can do wonders for your immune system, mood, and hormone regulation. And being in nature is a proven stress-reliever.
Creating a suitable space for pilates workouts is simpler than you might think. As equipment isn’t required, pilates can be done anywhere using just your body weight. Laura suggests starting early in the day or later in the evening to avoid the heat and finding a relaxing corner away from clutter to enhance your experience.
As summer approaches, aim to take your workouts outdoors wherever possible to connect with nature, leveraging its numerous mental and physical benefits. If you’re unsure about doing pilates in public places, Laura suggests working out with a friend or family member.
Choose a secluded location or try to work out early in the morning when it’s most quiet. It’s important to remember, you can always workout from home if the weather isn’t great or you’re not comfortable.
If you’re planning on exercising outside in the summer, Laura has some tips to ensure you’re prepared:
- Always carry lots of water
- Bring sunglasses for comfort
- Use wireless headphones to stay focused
- Plan your workout the night before to reduce pre-workout stress
- If you’re near the ocean, bring a towel for a post-workout dip