Whether you’re the type of person who loves going to the gym or the type that never sets foot in one, summertime provides many opportunities to get physically fit without being stuck exercising indoors.
To remain fit and stay in basic shape, the Mayo Clinic recommends 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week, 1.25 hours of vigorous activity, or a combination thereof, as a minimum. If you’ve been having trouble meeting that, it may be time to try something new, such as spending more time outdoors this summer.
Check out these 6 benefits of exercising outdoors:
- It’s more fun. Many people who aren’t big fans of regimented exercise routines have found that participating in outside activities doesn’t really “feel” like exercise. Whether you’re playing a sport or going for a bike ride, the outdoor scenery tends to take your mind off the activity itself and makes time pass much more quickly.
- It’s a better workout. Outdoor exercises tend to use the whole body, which means that you’ll probably be getting a more comprehensive workout than the one you’d get at the gym. Whole body exercises help to strengthen your core, and work all the different muscle groups including the minor stabilizing muscles that don’t see much action when you’re using a fitness machine. The ever-changing outdoor terrain keeps your muscles guessing, which ultimately leads to a better workout.
- It can save you money. Exercising outdoors tends to be cheaper, because it doesn’t require a gym membership. If you get creative, there should be no limit to the kind of exercise you can do outdoors for little or no money.
- It can be social. Outdoor exercise is easier to turn into a group or family activity that people of any age can enjoy, from our kids to our elder parents. So, you can make your exercise time double as quality time with loved ones.
- It helps you burn more calories. Outdoor exercise tends to be harder than indoor exercise, other things being equal. One study found that running outside led to a higher energy expenditure than running on a treadmill, for instance. Things like wind resistance, which we hardly ever think about, are some of the factors that make outdoor exercise more challenging.
- It’s just better for you. Studies have shown that outdoor activities, for unknown reasons, have a bigger impact on physical and mental well-being than indoor exercise. There are also other side benefits to being outside, such as getting some sun and producing more Vitamin D (thus countering seasonal affective disorder, which usually happens when a person spends too much time indoors during the winter season).
Have an outdoor exercise success story? We want to hear about it? Get in touch with us!