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The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors

Toni-Ann DiSantis

The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors (Simon Cowen, Fitness First PT Ambassador)

4 surprising reasons to ditch the gym and exercise outside, instead

1. You burn more calories when you exercise outside

Resistance from the wind when running or cycling outdoors means you often burn more calories than if you were indoors, and slopes and uneven ground make your body work harder as it has to respond to the unknown.   So, basically, doing nothing different but taking your workout outside makes it LOADS more effective.

2. Outdoor workouts are awesome for your mood

Numerous pieces of research show a clear connection between spending time outdoors and a reduction in stress. Plus, fresh air and increased oxygen helps release the feel-good brain chemical, serotonin – meaning your outdoor training sessions not only help keep you fit and healthy, they put you in a fantastic mood too.

3. The scenery stops you getting bored

Real talk: no matter how much you love Scott Disick, watching the Kardashians over and over from the cross trainer does get a bit dull.  The beauty of exercising outdoors is the space you're in.  Running through different scenery means you have a lot to look at, so you're less likely to get bored and end up exercising for longer, almost by accident. Not only that, when it's sunny who wants to be cooped up in a gym?

4. You can tone your whole body, for free

You may not notice it on first glance, but parks are FULL of things (free things!) that will help you tone muscle.  Hill sprints are a great way of getting maximum results, particularly as sprinting is one of the most effective ways to burn fat. Short, sharp bursts of movement at an incline will help push you to the limit while also building and toning muscle. Plus, local parks and green spaces are home to a wide range of objects that can double up as exercise equipment.  Take a park bench – you can do tricep dips or step-ups.  Even a tree can enhance your workout: try some explosive jumps where you aim to hit as many branches as high as you can.  Or do a 3:1 ratio jog where you jog to three trees and then sprint to the forth – get creative!