Exercising outdoors makes you feel better than exercising indoors. Plus, the scenery is better.
Treadmill or trail? If you —or your schedule — are ever undecided, consider this.
Exercising outdoors in a natural environment is linked to greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy, and positive engagement than exercising indoors. (No kidding, some of you are thinking right now.)
A study from the UK's Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry reviewed 11 trials (833 adults) that compared physical or mental well-being outcomes for outdoor exercise with indoor exercise.
Most trials showed that outdoor participants experienced more enjoyment and satisfaction from their activities, plus had greater feelings of revitalization, positive engagement, and increased energy. Outdoor participants also had less tension, confusion, anger or depression than indoor participants.
However, results suggested that following outdoor exercise, feelings of calmness may be decreased. (Maybe outdoor participants are just really excited about getting out there again.)
And none of the studies measured the effects of physical activity on physical well-being or the effect of natural environments on exercise adherence.
The results were published February 3, 2011, in the journal Environmental Science and Technology in the article "Does Participating in Physical Activity in Outdoor Natural Environments Have a Greater Effect on Physical and Mental Wellbeing than Physical Activity Indoors? A Systematic Review."
While the study strengthens the link between outdoor exercise and mental and physical well-being, its authors say further research is needed.
You needn't wait for more research to start putting the results into action though. Consider these even more reasons to take that mid-day hike, run, or walk break outdoors.