The 8 Greatest Benefits of Exercising Outdoors

If you’re aiming to get fitter but find that a gym membership doesn’t financially or logistically fit your lifestyle, there’s no need for this to get in the way of your goals. The great outdoors offers somewhere that you can get your heart pumping without needing to spend a penny!

We’ve put together a list of the benefits of exercising outdoors – and you may even find that what nature has to offer far outweighs the comforts of a gym.

Saves the Pennies

It’s no secret that being fitness-focused can be costly. In a survey conducted by Myprotein, they found that the average person spends £124 per month on health and fitness.

Now, before this puts you off, there’s no need to worry as you can definitely have regular and effective workouts for more than half of this price. Some of these expenses are difficult to reduce – such as supplements and active wear – however a huge way to cut down this figure is by swapping the gym membership for a subscription to the outdoors.

And it’s not just the membership cost you’ll be saving; it’ll also be any travel costs that are incurred going to and from the gym, potential parking costs, and any other merchandise or extras that you end up buying at the gym. Switching from the gym to outdoor exercising could result in surprising savings each month.

If you like cycling, buying a bike may have a higher up front cost but you’ll soon realise that it’s much cheaper than a gym membership in the long run.

Better for Mental Health

Exercising is known to release endorphins, elevate mood, and support many with a healthy mind. But could exercising outside boost these benefits even more?

Studies have shown that people who exercise outdoors have higher levels of serotonin and endorphins. Having an increased serotonin level helps to prevent and treat depression, anxiety, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Following a study carried out on 833 adults, it was found that the mental health benefits of exercising outdoors when compared to exercising indoors included a greater feeling of revitalisation and positive engagement, as well as a reduction in tension, anger, and depression.

No Planning Need

One of the greatest benefits of exercising outdoors is its accessibility. Life can be busy and some days end up being a lot less organised than you’d hoped. If you’re experiencing the mad morning rush it can be very easy to forget your gym gear, consequently throwing you off your whole routine and meaning you skip that day’s exercise regime.

Dedicating your exercise routine to the outdoors is a sure-fire way to guarantee these little spanners in the works can’t ruin your opportunity to exercise for the day. Even if your running gear is unwashed or your bike is being serviced, the outdoors is still there for a leisurely walk or a yoga session.

It also means that if you spontaneously feel like getting some exercise, it can be as simple as walking out the door!

Pushes Your Body and Mind Harder

Due to wind resistance, changing terrains, and the climates of the outdoors, you’re pushing your body harder and burning off more calories outdoors than you would be in the gym. If you’re running or cycling outside, you’ll also be working more muscles than you would on a treadmill or exercise bike due to the incline variations of a natural landscape.

Not only do you push your body harder and work extra muscles, a 2008 study concluded that those who exercised outside generally exercised for longer than those working out indoors. It’s easy to clock-watch on a treadmill with a built-in timer but when you’re out in nature, you’ll run without any focus on the time, just you and the road.

Exercising outside also requires you to use your brain in a different way than you would in the gym. Rather than exercising on the spot on a treadmill or exercise bike, running or cycling outside involves following a trail and avoiding obstacles, both of which demand sharper focus and more cognitive thinking.

Along with the improvements to your body, the challenges and stimulations of regularly exercising outdoors can also help to train your brain. Studies have shown that some mental benefits of exercising outdoors include improved memory, problem solving, concentration, and attention to detail.

Natural Vitamin D

A healthy amount of vitamin D is vital for absorbing calcium – which is integral to maintaining good bone health – into the intestines. Vitamin D is synthesized by our bodies when sunlight hits our skin. To produce sufficient vitamin D, it’s recommended that we expose our skin to sunlight for 5-10 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week. Working outdoor exercise into your weekly routine will ensure that there’s little risk of deficiency as you’ll be getting more than enough vitamin D simply by incorporating walking or cycling into your lunch break.

A healthy dose of vitamin D will also help to reduce the risk of flu, diabetes, depression, osteoporosis, and fatigue.

See New Sights

Whilst putting on your headphones and getting on the exercise bike or treadmill can sometimes be therapeutic, it can equally be hard to stay focused in an environment that isn’t hugely stimulating. When you’re bored, motivation slips and you’ll find your eyes frequently going back and forth to the clock, waiting to hit that 30 minute mark. The more focus that’s put on the clock, the harder the workout will seem as each second ticks by. That’s just another benefit of exercising outdoors – no clocks! All of your focus can be dedicated to the world and new sights around you.

With your focus on the sights around you, you’ll start to notice things you didn’t before and discover beautiful hidden treasures that could be just around the corner. Exercising outdoors gives you the opportunity to go places you might never have visited before, whether it’s cycling a little further than usual or travelling to a different county for a hike in challenging terrain.

If discovering new heights is going to be a focus of your fitness journey, a mountain bike is the perfect partner to join you on your ventures so that you can go further out into nature.

A Chance to Mix it Up

If you’re tempted by the benefits of exercising outdoors but aren’t fond of running or need exercises that are a little less intense, consider outdoor activities such as golf, walking, yoga, and cycling with an electric bike. Each of these outdoor activities have their own individual benefits that are worth further investigation and, best of all, you’ll still find yourself loving the feel of the fresh air as you give them a try.

Improve your Social Life

Taking your exercise outdoors can be a great chance to meet new people or incorporate friendly catch ups into your weekly fitness regime. Although you can always try and drag a friend to the gym with you, it’s likely they won’t want to do that on a weekly basis if they’re not particularly fitness-focused. Ask the same friend to go for a long country walk or a yoga session in the park, focusing on the mindfulness or social aspect of it.

If you haven’t got a willing friend or family member to come along with you, there are plenty of outdoor exercise classes widely available across the UK including HIIT, yoga, and boxfit. In addition to this, there are also lots of popular running groups and boot camps where you can meet like minded people who share your goals.

If reading our 8 benefits of exercising outdoors has you feeling motivated, why not get outdoors and feel the benefits for yourself? If golf or cycling is a tempting new venture you’d like to try, have a browse of our reasonably priced bikes and electric golf trolleys that will help you to achieve your fitness goals.

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