Exercising Outdoors: A Rehabilitation Perspective

Considering the current situation surrounding COVID-19, it certainly has been a shock to the lifestyles of all individuals in Australia and the World. With the majority of businesses working from home and with all gyms in Australia currently closed, people are seeking advice for home exercise programmes which is great, however, why not complete your exercises outside?

Exercising outdoors has multiple benefits for patients physically and mentally. According to research (Lahart et al., 2019; Bowler et al., 2010) acute bouts of outdoor exercise may favourably influence,

  1. Greater enjoyment and satisfaction.
  2. Reduction in perceived exertion.
  3. Increase in exercise intensity.
  4. Positive engagement with the use of the individual’s surroundings.
  5. Increase energy levels throughout the day.
  6. Improvements in sleeping patterns.
  7. Long-term adherence to exercise and promotion of self-management.

There is also evidence to suggest that people who tend to engage in physical activity in an outdoor environment will be active for longer and the exposure to scenes of nature can elicit positive physiological states (Lahart et al., 2019). Natural light exposure during physical activity has shown to promote sleep quality, especially with the rise in sleep disturbance rates which are experienced by older adults (Murray et al., 2017).

With current regulations, exercise can still be conducted in a local park with another individual, maintaining social distancing of 1.5m and sanitising all equipment used before and after the exercise session conducted. If patients are concerned about infection, we have the use of Telehealth to continue treatment regardless.

Personally, I have seen this pandemic as an opportunity to explore local parks that you may have driven past previously on your way to work or to your local shops. It is great to provide the opportunity to patients to exercise outside in their local park, providing fresh air and empowering the patient to self-manage their injury without the use of gym facilities.

At Absolute Balance, we believe that exercise is the answer to all health conditions. As we are all adjusting to the current circumstances, now is the time to allow yourself a break. If you’re reading this, go for a walk and get some fresh air. Get out of the house and your working environment and allow some time for yourself. For any additional information on exercise prescription and programming you can email us on info@absolutebalance.com.au

 

Joel Skinner (B.Sc Exercise Science and Rehabilitation)

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) (AES) (ESSAM)

References

Bowler, D.E., Buyung-Ali, L.M., Knight, T.M., & Pullin, A.S. (2010). A systematic review of evidence for the added benefits to health of exposure to natural environments. Public Health, 10, 456.

Lahart, I., Darcy, P., Gidlow, C., & Calogiuri, G. (2019). The Effects of Green Exercise on Physical and Mental Wellbeing: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16, 1352: doi:10.3390/ijerph16081352

Murray, K., Godbole, S., Natarajan, L., Full, K., Hipp, A., Glanz, K., Mitchell, J., Laden, F., James, P., Quante, M., & Ken, J. (2017). The relations between sleep, time of physical activity, and time outdoors among adult women. PLoS ONE 12(9): e0182013. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.

pone.0182013