Exercising outdoors is better for you than gym


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.

via SportsOneSource Media


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Comments

Pathloser
52 reviewer rep
312 forum posts
February 12, 2011 at 4:45 a.m. (EST)

That's interesting. I didn't realise how far behind they were on this particular issue. Exercise and the brain/body health-state, as well as social play and a sense of purpose/meaning, have all been studied and well-presented. Perhaps they will tie it all together and call it 'where we belong' studies.

Sarcasm aside, it is sad that research such as this may be necessary to persuade bureaucrats and politicians (who then persuade the people) of the need for protection and production of 'wild' or 'green' spaces and that the argument may have to be structured as "nature is therapy". In other words, people may be so removed from the environment of their genes that they can only view the natural world as a means for self-improvement and positive exploitation. This logic may have to be accepted and utilized by those who genuinely know better.

So society gets increasingly sick as it moves 'indoors' for everything and 'nature' becomes therapy. Hopefully, once they feel better or fix themselves, humans will view the natural world as it always was: a part of them. Talk about alienation (or fall of wo-man, even).

shaddix
0 reviewer rep
2 forum posts
February 15, 2011 at 9:29 p.m. (EST)

1) Dur..... Of course exercising outside is going to have a better effect on your sense of well-being. Who enjoys watching soaps on the gym tv.....

 

2) There's no barbells in the woods, so it's effect is limited...

COClimber
0 reviewer rep
4 forum posts
February 28, 2011 at 5:01 p.m. (EST)

This ties in with "No child left inside" -- a coalition promoting environmental education.  There's even been a new term coined:

"Nature Deficit Disorder"

And then there's "Summit for Someone" -- a fundraiser for Big City Mountaineers which mentors young people and uses outdoor recreation as a tool for enhancing self-esteem and taking personal responsibility.

I thought the original article was a good start -- but there is so much more going on with using outdoor recreation for physical and mental health!

Let's get out there!

 

 

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,051 forum posts
February 28, 2011 at 6:42 p.m. (EST)

This ties in with "No child left inside" -- a coalition promoting environmental education.  There's even been a new term coined:

"Nature Deficit Disorder"

And then there's "Summit for Someone" -- a fundraiser for Big City Mountaineers which mentors young people and uses outdoor recreation as a tool for enhancing self-esteem and taking personal responsibility.

I thought the original article was a good start -- but there is so much more going on with using outdoor recreation for physical and mental health!

Let's get out there!

 

 

Hi, COClimber. I wholeheartedly agree that getting kids outdoors is an important topic, and one we'll continue to bring to readers' attentions in blogs, articles and the forums (of course to some degree, we're preaching to the choir). It's been on our radar for years and will remain there.

I actually participated in a Summit for Someone climb last year, which is a great program, among numerous others out there that work to get kids outside.

If you're curious, we also support the Outdoor Foundation, among other outdoor and environmental groups: htttp://www.trailspace.com/about/giving-back/

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