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The Health Benefits Of The Great Outdoors

2nd June 2023

2nd June 2023

By Catherine Hargreaves

During the winter months, it's easy to become accustomed to staying indoors due to the short daylight hours and cold weather. You may be surprised to know just how much this lack of day and sunlight has on our body – and both our physical and mental health. When summer comes around, we're more likely to reap the benefits without noticing, but even then it might take more effort than you think to get enough sun. With a whopping 63% of our recent Quiz takers saying they don't get enough time outdoors, it's certainly an issue needs addressing.

In the United Kingdom, whilst our weather isn’t always what we’d like it to be, we are lucky to have a huge amount of natural green countryside, as well as bustling cities, both providing us with exciting and enjoyable areas to take a daily stroll. So, it’s important that we really make the most of these areas and take advantage of our freedom to explore them.  With the weather on the up, we wanted to stress the importance of getting outside, and the health benefits we can gain by doing so.

Let’s start with the basics…

How is sunlight good for you?

We don’t know about you, but any time in the sun makes us feel a whole lot better about ourselves. Sunlight is a great serotonin-booster, which means that getting outside is the perfect way to instantly up your mood. Put simply, serotonin is the hormone responsible for giving you energy and keeping you happy. In the long run, the maintenance of positive serotonin levels will ensure your performance and focus levels are unaffected.

But there’s also science to back this up, too. It’s important to maintain a stable level of Vitamin D in your system, to avoid the risk of any autoimmune deficiencies and cardiovascular diseases. There’s also research to suggest that even just one hour of daily exercise has huge health benefits, particularly when it comes to your heart health. One hour a day is nothing in the grand scheme of things, and you could even break this up into smaller, more manageable regular breaks.

If you’re still not convinced, though, let’s talk about some more benefits of being outdoors…

Nature Health Benefits

Encourages Exercise

    Pretty simply, being outside, your opportunities to be sat down doing nothing are pretty limited. This means that you’re encouraged to exercise just by the sheer nature of being outside – whether that be walking, running, or even skipping if you feel like it.

    Clears Your Head

      Aside from physical benefits, one of the most underrated benefits of being outdoors is the ability to help you destress, clear your head and reduce anxiety levels. Improving your mood is a key way to improve your performance, so taking simple steps to improve your mental health by just taking a quick stroll outside, or organising a meet up in the park, is definitely recommended.

      Improves Your Sleep Quality

        Have you experienced restlessness and broken sleep recently? It could be as a result of you not spending enough time outside. By getting outdoors and spending time in the sun, your body uses up more energy than you would do sat at home at your desk or on your sofa. One of the great benefits of this (aside from increased exercise levels) is that you will experience a great night sleep!

        This means your performance and energy levels will thank you later, too.

        Increases Your Time in Nature

           With the online world at our every turn in both our work and social lives, there has never been a better time to prioritise turning off that screen, putting your phone down and getting outside for some fresh air.

           This leads us on pretty nicely to our next point…

          Widens Your Perspective

            It can be pretty hard to find that work-life balance these days, so getting outside is a great way to introduce some of nature’s health benefits to your lifestyle. Getting outside is a great way to remind yourself of the world around you and put your issues into perspective to help you find healthy coping mechanisms of the issues of day-to-day life.

            How can I spend more time outside?

            It’s okay. We get it. Life can get pretty hectic, so we know how difficult it can be to prioritise spending time outside, despite the benefits. If you’re struggling, here are some easy ways to introduce a brisk trip to the outdoors:

            • Lunchtime Walk
            • Daily Dog Walk
            • Social Outings
            • Sunrise and Sunset Strolls
            • Take Advantage of Weekends


            Getting yourself out and about is one of the easiest (and cheapest!) forms of exercise, and one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical wellbeing. Whether it’s a five-minute stroll or a five mile run, anything you can do to get yourself outside and reaping the benefits of natural sunlight and it’s Vitamin D is definitely worth doing.

            If you want to get yourself outside and are struggling for exercise inspiration – look no further. We’ve got plenty of work out routines, fitness tips and professional advice to get you on your way.

            PS - if you’re looking for a way to up your vitamin intake and struggle to find time to get outside, our nutritionist-approved product The Recover Capsules include Vitamin D as one of it’s active ingredients, amongst a wealth of other feel-good ingredients.


            • Holick, M. F. (2011). Health Benefits of Vitamin D and Sunlight: A D-bate. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 7(2), 73-75. Click here.
            • Lambert, G. W., Reid, C., Kaye, D. M., Jennings, G. L., & Esler, M. D. (2002). Effect of sunlight and season on serotonin turnover in the brain. The Lancet, 360(9348), 1840-1842. Click here.
            • Myers, J. (2003). Exercise and Cardiovascular Health. Circulation, 107(1), e2-e5. Cl

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            From the Bedroom to the Gym: Is Your Sex Life Affecting Your Workout Performance?
            The relationship between sex and workout performance is one that’s long been debated by scientists and fitness fanatics alike. It’s complicated and multifaceted, so answering the question of whether your sex life is affecting your training is difficult. That said, today we’re going to take a look at a variety of evidence, both academic and anecdotal, as well as several different scenarios and at least try to reduce some of the mystery around the subject. First, it helps to understand what’s actually happening to the body, both physically and psychologically, during both activities.   The Effects of Sex on the Body Sexual activity causes several changes to occur in the body:   Physical Changes That Occur During Sex During sexual activity and the lead up to it, the human body undergoes a process known as the sexual response cycle. This is the case for both males and females, though the cycle can be highly individual and may not be the same each time for each person. Describing the full sexual response cycle is beyond the scope of this article, however it consists of 4 phases: Desire Arousal Orgasm Resolution Factors such as elevated heart rate, increased blood flow and pressure and heightened muscle tension all come into play. If you’d like to read about the sexual response cycle in more detail, check out this great article from Cleveland Clinic.   Psychological Changes That Occur During Sex Several psychological changes occur both during and after sex. Most notable are the release of endorphins and oxytocin, which are associated with improved mood and a better sense of wellbeing. These are also responsible for reduced stress levels, which brings a multitude of additional benefits that are of particular interest to those of us participating in regular training and exercise. Cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress, is catabolic in high levels, meaning it can cause the breakdown of lean tissue. So, whilst it is unclear whether sex itself affects workout performance, the reduction in stress levels it may bring is definitely beneficial for preserving our results!   The Effects of Exercise and Training on the Body Exercise and training also cause the body to undergo a number of changes. These occur both during and after the physical activity. There are in fact a number of similarities in changes that happen during exercise and sex:   Physical Changes That Occur During Exercise The physical changes that happen in the body vary based on the type of exercise being undertaken, however, there are some that are common to exercise in general: Increased heart rate Increased blood flow, especially to the muscles Faster, deeper breathing due to additional oxygen needs Heightened activity within the circulatory, respiratory, musculoskeletal and endocrine systems A full summary of the changes that occur within these systems can be found here. More aerobically demanding exercise will, of course, place greater emphasis on the circulatory and respiratory systems as well as causing fat to be metabolised as an energy source. Resistance training, which often relies more heavily on the lactate and creatine phosphate energy systems, instead promotes greater muscular and endocrine (hormone) activity. Note the common physical changes between sex and exercise here, as they do crossover!   Psychological Changes That Occur During Exercise The psychological changes that occur during exercise are similar to those experienced during sexual activity and are mostly related to the release of endorphins and other ‘feelgood’ hormones. These help to regulate mood, and it is common knowledge that frequent exercise and leading an active, healthy lifestyle promotes a feeling of wellbeing.   Does Sex Affect Our Workouts? This is where things become complicated. Though extensive studies have been done on the subject, the results of these have varied massively. We must also take into account the experience of individuals, and this anecdotal evidence again has huge variance. Let’s look at both:   Sex and Training: What the Science Says Scientific studies on the relationship between sex and training are contradictory at best. There’s no denying the positive benefits of both activities, particularly from a psychological perspective, but as for the effect of sex on actual performance in the gym the results are inconclusive. A study, published in April 2021, by Kirecci, Albayrak and co. examined the effects of sexual activity of 50 men in the 24 hours prior to training on lower body strength. The study measured effects by having the men perform 3 separate squat sessions, each at the same time of day. Each of these sessions occurred after participating in or abstaining from sexual activity the night before. The men performed 5 sets of 5 repetitions of their maximum squat weight during these sessions and the difference in weight lifted was observed. The study concluded that ‘sexual intercourse within 24 hours before exercise [has a] detrimental effect on lower extremity muscle force, which suggests that restricting sexual activity before a short-term activity may be necessary.’ Aside from this study, most others found either no notable relationship between sex and athletic performance. A meta-analysis of 9 crossover studies, conducted by Zavorsky and Brooks and published on 16 September 2022, confirms this. The analysis concluded that ‘The results demonstrate that sexual activity within 30 min to 24 h before exercise does not appear to affect aerobic fitness, musculoskeletal endurance, or strength/power.’ This is perhaps more notable, because these studies incorporated different types of exercise and were not restricted purely to a strength/power based activity like squats.   Anecdotal Evidence: What About the Experiences of Real Gym Goers? The anecdotal evidence is, as expected, highly individualised. However, there tends to be a bias against the results of most studies, particularly in those participating in sports involving strength and aggression. For example, many fighters claim that they perform better when they abstain from sex in the days leading up to a contest. Similarly, bodybuilding forums are full of debate on this topic and many claim they note a significant decrease in motivation to train at maximum intensity after sexual activity. It has been hypothesised that this may be due to a downregulation in testosterone production after sex; during orgasm the mineral zinc is released in the body and this is also a precursor for natural testosterone production in the body and may, therefore, provide some reasoning as to the experience of many trainees.   Key Takeaways The relationship between sex and workout performance will always be a complicated one. The effects of one on the other in terms of physical fitness and, in particular, mental wellbeing, are clear, but when it comes to actual performance this appears to be highly individual. We’d advise doing what feels best for you but not worrying too much about it. Instead, prioritise your nutrition and make sure you’re fuelling your workouts properly. While you’re here, why not take a look at the Innermost range? We’re proud to be completely transparent about the ingredients in our products and we always ensure they’re of the highest quality. Check us out, and be sure to get in touch if you have any questions! Read more