5 Ways Outdoor Fitness Beats the Gym

With summer here, we all can't wait to finish work for the day so we can spend time outside! So why not use your workout time to be outside?

Something I love communicating with people is that you do not have to go to the gym to get a good workout in or be healthy. Yes, gyms have a lot of great equipment for a variety of activities, but you don't need all the bells and whistles to be healthy. Part of being healthy is simply being active. Being active can look like going on a walk, dancing, mowing the lawn, swimming, and so much more. And one of our best tools for getting active is right outside our front door - the great outdoors!

What kind of workouts can you do outside? There's so much, but to start outdoor fitness could be biking, running, climbing, swimming, walking/hiking, roller blading, and even strength training. The possibilities are endless!

Exercising outdoors has numerous health benefits that you cannot find indoors. Exercising provides you with both physical and mental health benefits, but take that outside and you get even more benefits!

Here are just 5 of the ways outdoor fitness beats the gym.

1. Challenges Your Body

Outside workouts could be harder than indoor workouts - leading to increased strength and mobility! While exercising outside, you encounter a constantly changing environment from inclines, bumps, or obstacles you need to dodge, to wind resistance. Even slight changes for you to adapt and work harder. Again, all really great things for your health and functional movement for the long-run.

2. Fresh Air

While exercising outdoors, you are breathing in much cleaner, fresher air and reducing your exposure to pollutants. The air indoors is circulated air and can actually be more polluted than outdoor air, even in large metropolitan areas. So even if you live in a big city, get outside and for some fresh air.

3. Improves Mood & Reduces Depression

Exercise benefits go well beyond just the physical. There are countless mental health benefits to being active and exercising outside boosts those benefits. While outside, you get a good dose of Vitamin D from the sun, which is an essential vitamin that helps boost the immune system, fight depression, protect bones and vital organs, and so much more. Exercising outside also boosts your feel-good hormones of serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins, making you feel even better after your workout.

4. Relieves Stress

An additional mental health benefit of exercise is stress reduction. Exercising releases norepinephrine, which helps reverse the damage of stress to the brain. Regular exercise also helps your body respond to stress better.

When you bring exercise outside, you increase the stress-fighting benefits. Being in nature helps people feel more grounded and has been shown to reduce cortisol levels (the chemical in your body that's released during stressful situations). Even short periods of time outside help bring down cortisol levels!

5. Low Cost

You do not need to pay a gym membership fee to exercise outside. Oftentimes, exercising outside is available right outside your front door with minimal to no equipment! If you have a pair of tennis shoes, you can run, go for a walk or hike, or do a bodyweight workout in your driveway. Some activities do require some additional equipment, but you only need to purchase those once.

I hope this post encourages you to take your fitness outside this summer! Being active outside is accessible to almost everyone and has phenomenal benefits for overall health.

What is your favorite way to be active outside?

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