Hit The Gym Or Hit The Trail, You Choose

“It’s summertime, which means prime time for fitness. If you work out consistently, you’re either logging hours in the air-conditioned gym or living it up in the unpredictable elements of the outdoors. It’s really a personal preference — but is one scientifically better than the other? Interestingly, yes. While you won’t necessarily burn more calories, there is a slight advantage to being outside. According to a study conducted in 2011, outdoor exercise has a slight edge over its indoor counterpart. Eight hundred adults were studied, most of them students, and asked to run on different occasions both indoors and outdoors. The following information is taken directly from the abstract: Compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy. However, the results suggested that feelings of calmness may be decreased following outdoor exercise. Participants reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and declared a greater intent to repeat the activity at a later date. So participants reported greater enjoyment of an activity when it was performed outside rather than indoors. What does this mean exactly? If you hate slogging to the gym — if it feels like a chore, try taking your show into the wide open air! The sun exposure (don’t forget sunscreen or protective clothing if you’re outside for long periods) and fresh air actually work to improve your body and your state of mind. Some of the well-known benefits of outdoor exercise include: -increased energy & vitality -decreased anger & stress -longer periods of physical activity -simply spending more time outdoors may reduce obesity in children -load up on vitamin D -easier on the wallet (gym memberships can get pricey) But exercising outdoors isn’t the answer for everyone. On the flip side, if you live in an area with high air pollution, it may be smarter to exercise indoors, as certain environmental conditions can trigger respiratory problems. Also, excessive cold can put you in danger of frostbite or hypothermia, while excessive heat can cause dehydration and heat stroke. So, use your good judgement when deciding whether you should exercise outside on any given day. Additionally, if you’re new to working out, it may be smarter to start in a gym. Under the guidance of a certified instructor and with the support of a group dynamic, you can more easily build your workout into a pleasant habit rather than a dreaded chore. Once you have the itch, taking your workouts outdoors can confer even greater benefits without the structure of a gym setting. In the end, the trick to exercising is to do whatever is the most fun for you. While exercising outdoors may be slightly more beneficial, it really all depends on how much you enjoy yourself. If it’s not fun, indoors or outdoors, you won’t do it — simple as that.” From “Gym or Trail: Is It Really Healthier to Exercise Outside?” By Jordyn Cormier

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