Updated: May 29
Gyms are a great place to go to exercise. Beside the fact they are full of equipment, they are also convenient and can help motivate you with posters, loud music and classes. While this is great most of the time, there are reasons to take your workout outdoors every once in a while.
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So, why should you be taking your workouts outdoors? Let's take a look:
1. Fresh air and sunshine!
There are numerous health benefits associated with being outdoors. Sunlight helps the body produce vitamin D, an important vitamin (it is actually a type of steroid) associated with immunity, bone health and anti-inflammatory qualities (1) (2). Fresh air not only provides us with oxygen - we kind of need that to, you know, not die - but can boost our mood and help beat stress (3).
2. Change of scenery
Being cooped up all day at home or in an office can be draining. A change of scenery can help you to relax and increase your creativity. Many great thinkers such as Steve Jobs and Aristotle spent a lot of time outdoors whilst trying to stimulate their creative juices. So, if you need a spark of inspiration, combine changing scenery with exercise for a double dose of creativity-boosting benefits.
3. Different types of exercise
Running isn't the only type of exercise you can do outdoors. Being outside allows you to perform exercises you may not normally be able to perform in the confined space of a gym. Throwing kettlebells or medicine balls, dragging sleds, sprinting up hills and carrying heavy, awkward objects are all exercises better suited to the outdoors than a gym - unless your gym happens to have a hill inside it.
4. Makes you more resilient
This one is a bit more specific to us in the UK! Being outdoors whatever weather can not only help to make you tougher and more resilient, it can also help you burn more fat (4) (5). Sticking to your schedule of exercise despite bad weather increases adherence and can reduce the chances of skipping future workouts.
Mix up your workouts by being outside more. Try new exercises and new workouts come rain or shine!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Maitland is a personal trainer with over 10 years’ experience. He has worked alongside a wide range of leading CEOs, entrepreneurs and medical professionals. John is a keen athlete and holds a black belt in Shaolin Kung fu. A fan of the great outdoors, he can often be found exploring the British countryside and mountains...or breaking pine boards with his fingers.