Outdoor exercise vs gym training: Which is better for you?

Several studies demonstrate that exercising outdoors may improve energy and decrease stress to a greater extent than working out inside.

Here are some of the reasons supported by fitness experts.

1. It allows you to burn more calories and work longer.

People exercising inside are pretty limited on the treadmill or elliptical, while working out outside promotes "muscle confusion,” which can help the body burn more calories. Besides that, there is no doubt that fresh air is superior to the recycled air inside of a building. Fresh air will give off more energy and the opportunity of working longer. Furthermore, it is easier to lose track of time when working out in a beautiful environment than in the gym, where it is easier to constantly check how much time is left.

2. Exposure to sunlight boosts Vitamin D production.

Vitamin D, one of the fat-soluble vitamins essential to strong bones and a healthy immune system, can be attained via sun exposure. Some researchers suggest that 30 minutes of sun exposure at least twice a week is sufficient for vitamin D synthesis. According to Harvard Health Publications, a proper level of vitamin D can help to prevent diseases like osteoporosis, cancer and heart attacks.

Credit: Greatist

Credit: Greatist

3. Outdoor activity has a better effect on mental health.

As a December 2008 study from the University of Michigan shows, just an hour spent interacting with nature can improve memory performance and attention spans by 20 percent, double of what one can get with indoor exercise. Natural environments is indeed connected to greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement.

4. It is useful to break the routine.

When exercising outside, the environment is every day a little bit different. Even if someone tends to always work out at the same place, the weather and surroundings will never be the same as the day before. People spend most of our days indoors using technology for work-related reasons. Disconnecting from virtual world and breaking away from daily routine is helpful to clear the mind and reduce stress; it will probably also help with professional and personal life.

5. It allows you to save time.

Going to the gym means spending time to get there, coming back, putting stuff in a locker, taking it out of the locker, all with the distractions involving a place frequented by other people. Running or walking outside may start as soon as someone gets out the door.

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