Reasons to Exercise Outdoors

Exercise OutdoorsLiving in the Northeast, I tend to get major cabin fever during the spring. So when warmer, sunnier weather kicks in, I tend to want to do everything outside…including exercise.

Whether you live in the Northeast or not, many of us stick to ourselves inside…in smelly, crowded gyms…when we work out. But this spring and summer, there is every good reason to take your workout outdoors. Here are some of the best reasons:

  1. The Outdoors is Free. Exercising outside doesn’t require any money. If you have a gym membership, consider putting it on hold during the warmer months to maximize your savings potential.
  2. Eco-Friendly. Not only does exercising outside require no money, but it also requires no electricity. No energy, except your own, is needed to power your outdoor workout.
  3. No More Boring Cardio Equipment. Although there are some individuals who prefer to exercise indoors on cardio equipment, most of us find it somewhat boring. Not only does getting outside free us from the boredom, but it also allows our bodies to move forward, as opposed to in place, causing us to use our muscles more naturally.
  4. Fresh Air. Many gyms have that “sweet sweat smell.” Okay, maybe it isn’t so sweet. The air we breathe outdoors, however, is full of fresh oxygen, which energizes our bodies and our minds. If possible, avoid heavy traffic areas and stick with parks and greener pastures to avoid breathing in toxic fumes and gases.
  5. Vitamin D. Our best source of Vitamin D is from exposure to the sun. Taking our workout outdoors allows our bodies to absorb some of the fantastic sunshine that our bodies need to get in a daily dose of D.
  6. See the Sights. When you exercise outside, you have a lot of distractions that help make the time (and pain) go more quickly. You can watch people, the scenery, the wildlife, etc. Find paths or locations that are especially inspiring, entertaining and/or beautiful for your workout.
  7. Getting Social. The warmer weather gives us more reason to be social and play with others. Activities like volleyball, kickball, Frisbee and others are so much more fun when played outdoors. Other fun outdoor activities to consider getting involved in are softball, baseball, rollerblading, hiking, mountain climbing and rock climbing.
  8. Fewer Excuses. If you run, bike, walk or do anything that requires you to move a protracted distance, it is less likely you’ll give up if you take it outside. When you use cardio equipment, you can hop off any time you feel like it. When you are outside, however, you have to keep going to get back to your original starting point…ensuring you don’t cut your workout short.
  9. Less Gear. During the cold winter months, we have to bundle up and feel all-cocoon-like to actually feel comfortable enough to get outdoors. During the warmer weather, however, your body heats up more quickly and as a result, you can keep the gear to a low roar!

What aspects of exercising outside do you love? What activities do you love to do outdoors?

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  • SM

    Brett,

    This is a great list and fantastic advice as always. I love all of your e-mail newsletters and tips. That said, I just had to let you know that #8 should read “Fewer Excuses,” (as opposed to “Less,” because it’s quantifiable) – sorry, it’s a big personal pet peeve! That nit-pick aside, please keep up the great work! You are an inspiration. Will happily share this information on Twitter, too. :)

    • Brett

      Thanks for the note. It is changed. I don’t mind a little nit-picking…especially if it makes my posts better!

  • http://www.facebook.com/smartwomendontdiet Michelle Segar, PhD, MPH

    Hi Brett,

    Great article and advice! I’ve heard great things about your blog and plan to start following you. There’s another reason to workout outside that I’d like to add to your list. Research on being outside, in nature, shows positive effects, without any exercise. I personally believe that when someone moves OUTSIDE they get double benefits, the effects from exercising boosted by the effects from being outside. My own weekly movement plan includes 3 days of walking outside just for that reason! michelle segar
    http://www.facebook.com/smartwomendontdiet