We know we don’t have to convince you of the health benefits of exercise.You already know it strengthens your bones, muscles, and heart—and boosts your mood and brain to boot. But did you know where you exercise matters? Yep, turns out exercising in the fresh air is better for you than running on a treadmill looking at a cinderblock wall. Which isn’t really surprising when you consider that we humans used to spend the vast majority of our time outside, whatever the weather. Lucky for you, it’s almost summertime which means it’s the perfect time to get your sport on outside.
Here are five science-backed benefits you’ll get from exercising in the great outdoors<1><2>:
1. You’ll thrive on the variety.When you exercise outside, the terrain is always changing, even if it’s subtle. The ground’s a little uneven, sometimes you go uphill, other times you go downhill. What treadmill can do all that? This variation helps prevent overuse injuries caused by repeating the same movements over and over. Plus, it keeps your workout interesting.
2. You’ll have more fun.You probably know instinctively that exercising outside is simply more fun. But now science has proven your hunch. One review of eleven different studies on exercise and mood found that folks who exercised outdoors enjoyed themselves more.<3> When it comes to sticking with an exercise routine, fun is king!
3. Your mood will soar.In that same study, the outdoor exercisers used words like “revitalized,” “energized,” and “positive” to describe how they felt a lot more frequently than those poor gym goers did. On the flipside, words like “tense,” “confused,” “angry,” and “depressed” were uttered a lot less. It’s that Nature thing. Our bodies love being surrounded by sky, trees, and birds.
4. You’ll get a better workout.When you run inside, there’s no wind. This lack of air resistance means you’re not working as hard as you would outside. That’s not just speculation. A study published in the Journal of Sports Science found that treadmill runners expend less energy to run the same distance as outdoor runners.<4> Same goes for biking inside versus outside.<5>
5. You’ll work out longer.Exercising outside is so darn pleasurable, you’ll be motivated to keep at it longer. A super-big study of seniors equipped with fitness trackers found that the ones who exercised outside were more physically active than the ones who got their hearts pumping inside. On average, the open-air exercisers logged an extra half hour of activity a week.<6>
One way to maximize your outdoor workout is to get the right nutrition.Enter Omega Sport+(US/CA). This boundary-pushing oil was created to help you fuel your adventures by giving you clean, wholesome nutrition to help your body run at its best. It starts with a base of body-loving omega oils—including 3, 6 and 9—and then keeps going with MCTs for sustained energy, turmeric for supporting recovery, antioxidants for good health, and vitamin D for strong bones.* <1> McCall P. 6 benefits of exercising outdoors. American Council on Exercise blog. 2016 Apr 22. https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/5911/6- benefits-of-exercising-outdoors <2> Reynolds G. The benefits of exercising outdoors. New York Times. 2013 Feb 21. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/21/the-benefits-of-exercising-outdoors/ <3> Coon JT, et al. 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. Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Mar 1;45(5):1761-72. <4> Jones AM, Doust JH. A 1% treadmill grade most accurately reflects the energetic cost of outdoor running. J Sports Sci. 1996 Aug;14(4):321-7. <5> Jobson SA, et al. The ecological validity of laboratory cycling: does body size explain the difference between laboratory- and field-based cycling performance? J Sports Sci. 2007 Jan 1;25(1):3-9. <6> Kerr J, et al. Outdoor physical activity and self-rated health in older adults living in two regions of the U.S. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2012 Jul 30;9:89.