Exercising Outside vs Inside

by Bea | March 10th, 2011 | Exercises

When you first think about it, it makes more sense that exercising outside would be more beneficial to you than exercising inside. True, you could get close to the same workout in, but being outdoors has other benefits as well. Being outdoors can revitalize you in ways that a gym cannot. It is commonly linked to greater feelings of increased energy, and there is typically more positive engagement than exercising indoors. I know that I sometimes run “faster” on a treadmill than I do outside, but I still feel like running outside gives me more of an authentic workout.

I have always thought that exercising in an natural environment was better for you than in a gym, but more and more studies have been conducted to prove that hypothesis. One of the more recent studies was done by a team at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry. This team analyzed existing studies and decided that exercising in the outdoors not only has physical benefits, but mental as well. In this study they analyzed 11 trials (833 adults) that compared physical or mental well-being outcomes for outdoor exercise with indoor exercise.

Overall, the study found that those who exercised outside had results that were associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement. Not only that, but they also experienced decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression. Plus, the people who went outdoors for their exercises stated that they had a lot more fun and that it was more motivating to go outdoors instead of to a gym.  Most of the study was focused on the mental benefits. From this study, there was not enough information to declare that exercising outdoors has many more benefits over exercising indoors. None of the studies measured the effects of physical activity on physical well-being. The team also did not study effect of natural environments on exercise adherence. However, the mental benefits certainly provide me with enough reason to make the extra effort to run or bike outside instead of at the gym.

The results can be found here.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.