Monday (29 March) was an important day for the sport and physical activity sector.

Although many restrictions are still in place, it represents a significant step forward, and sends a powerful message too.

The fact organised sport has been one of the first things the government has allowed to reopen underlines its potential to benefit society more widely and the message it sends is of its importance to our nation’s health and wellbeing.

There is still plenty to do but everyone can enjoy the benefits being physically active can bring.

So what are the benefits of exercising outside

It’s a simple fact that we all feel happier, healthier and far more positive when spring is in the air, despite the current social distancing measures.

A little sunshine and warmth does us all the world of good.

We’re loving the longer days, lighter nights, and the big boost to our motivation levels that comes with the arrival of spring.

Not only is spring the perfect opportunity to start thinking about getting fit and active but being outdoors in the sunshine does your mind and body a whole world of good.

 Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of heading outdoors:

Vitamin D.  Reports suggest that many of us are deficient in vitamin D, so if ever there’s been a better excuse to get outdoors and see the sun then it’s to top up your levels of this highly important vitamin.

We do appreciate that the stresses and strains of everyday life can sometimes prevent you from getting enough fresh air. However, it is crucial that you do make the time – and effort – to get outdoors whenever you can.

Vitamin D will support your immune system and also control the amount of calcium and phosphate in your body. Calcium and phosphate keep your bones strong and teeth healthy.  A lack of vitamin D means your body can’t absorb enough calcium and phosphorous, which can cause damage and also a nasty condition called rickets. By getting outside during the spring and summer months for just 10 to 15 minutes, you will boost your vitamin D levels dramatically, as vitamin D forms under your skin in reaction to sunlight.

Energy boost.  Deeply inhaling fresh air really helps to clear your lungs and increase the amount of oxygen that’s transported to your body’s cells, which means a boost to your energy levels and a clearer head.  Furthermore, it’s proven that getting outside and heading to the country or beach can make you feel happier, healthier and more alive.

Reduced stress.  Enjoying fresh air and sunshine can encourage your body to relax and produce lower amounts of the stress hormone, cortisol, as well as lowering blood pressure.  Furthermore, it’s proven that fresh air and sunshine can fight off depression, and the happy hormone, serotonin, increases during the spring and summer months when the days are lighter and longer.

Privacy and connection – are both incredibly important to good mental health. Going for a walk, run or cycle ride can help provide us with some alone time to reflect and think, or by meeting friends or family and catching up.

So don’t waste this opportunity – look at it as a positive and take advantage of the great outdoors and get moving for you physical and mental health!