the benefits of outdoor exercise

the benefits of outdoor exercise

outdoor exercise, fitness, workout, health

photo credit: ergobachmann | Flickr

Remember back when I posted about running in the heat versus running in the cold? Well, either way that’s how the New York Times wants you to exercise–outside. In this recent blog post, they highlighted the benefits of outdoor exercising.

For running, the great outdoors provides the downhill angle that treadmills can’t imitate. Combined with the occasional hill, the muscles in your body are stressed in a more diverse manner than a simple jog on the treadmill. I was exceptionally pleased to see that studies have shown that running outdoors is often more strenuous than indoors, most likely due to the climate control and lack of wind resistance indoors. Thank goodness it isn’t all in my head! I always get frustrated when I have a stellar, energizing run at the gym and then mimic that same run later on in the week, but outdoors, and wind up feeling sloppy and unconditioned. Mr. Humidity is not on my list of favorite people.

The blog post continues to validate the above theory for cycling as well.

Aside from the direct physical benefits of outdoor exercise, there are psychological benefits as well. A smattering of studies has suggested that working out in nature makes you happier, more energetic, less stressed out, and more confident. As a result, you most likely want to, and do, work out longer! Researchers aren’t totally sure why this is, but I have some suggestions for them: You don’t have to stare at the gym meatheads while they stare at themselves in the mirror. If it’s sunny, a little soaking up of some vitamin D makes you sunnier on the inside. No one is competing with you. It gets you out of your damn office and into nature. You can walk your dog on a leash or your kids in a stroller while exercising–multitasking!

Either way, we all know exercise is important. Whether it’s at a gym, in a park, in your living room, or even in an airport, just make sure you do it!

Market research: if you were to attend a boot camp class, would you prefer it to be indoors or outdoors?

photo credit: ergobachmann | Flickr