While the allure of gyms – climate-controlled and predictable – are apparent, there are benefits to exercising in the open air, which can’t be replicated inside.
Going to the gym is an easy concept. You show up, put your time in on the machines, and you leave. It works. It’s good for you. But with June being National Great Outdoors month, why not mix up your fitness routine and take it outside? Here are just a few of the rewards.
It’s good for your mind as well as your body.
A study of 800 adults found that outdoor exercise was associated with increased energy and revitalization, as well as decreased confusion, anger, depression and tension, when compared with exercising indoors. Simply looking at pictures of nature can lower your stress and mental fatigue. Being exposed to it in-person decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, decreases resting heart rate and also decreases blood pressure.
You don’t have to feel self-conscious.
In a confined gym space, it can sometimes feel like all eyes are on you. Outside, you can work out with abandon, whizzing past others, focusing on you.
Outdoor exercise routines are easier to stick with.
Half of people who join a gym don’t stick with it beyond the first year, on average. But people who exercise outside tend to keep up with their exercise programs more consistently than those who train indoors, according to one study.
Soak up the sunshine benefits.
The sun hitting our skin creates vitamin D3, which is important to bone health and metabolic function. Exposure to sunlight can also help you sleep better at night, improve immune function and increase endorphin production – those all-important feel-good hormones.