Why It’s Good for You to Exercise Outdoors

Good for your body and your soul—for exercise, there may be nothing like the great outdoors.

Mother and daughter exercise outdoors.

Where do you typically exercise? Do you prefer the local gym where you have access to various equipment and classes? Or, do you tend to enjoy the benefits of working out at home where there’s no need to travel and no membership fees?

You’re probably already aware of the benefits of routine physical activity:

  • Managing a healthy weight
  • Minimizing cardiovascular disease risk and other diseases like cancer
  • Strengthening bones and muscles.

But have you considered the benefits of where you exercise?

Typically, many use either the gym or a dedicated space at home for working out but taking your exercise outdoors can benefit you greatly—both physically and mentally.

Outdoor workouts can lift your mood more and help you feel more energetic and revitalized than staying indoors, and as few as five minutes of outdoor exercise can improve your self-esteem, especially if you're near greenery or water.

Here are three additional benefits of taking your exercise outdoors (when the weather is appropriate, of course):

1. Connect with nature

Being in nature is one of the best perks of outdoor exercise. Where are you likely to enjoy exercise, on a treadmill in a crowded gym or on a hiking trail in a nearby park? Being outside also boosts your vitamin D levels, which can reduce your stress and improve your immune system’s ability to fight off illnesses.

Related: Is Working Out in the Cold Good for You?

2. Save money

Exercising outdoors doesn’t require any fancy equipment or a gym membership. If you’re looking for a change in scenery and a way to save some money, take a few of your weekly workouts outside.

3. Potentially burn more calories

When you're jogging or biking outdoors, a strong headwind can help you burn more calories. You’ll have to work harder to overcome the wind's resistance. You can also amplify your exercise by selecting a rougher terrain for a hike, which challenges your body and requires more energy.

Get out and enjoy

Rather than staying cooped up inside, take a brisk walk either alone or with a buddy to socialize. You can turn exercise into family time and create healthy habits together. Play on a playground with your child (or grandchild) or take a nature hike together.

You can also treat yourself to a walk in the woods, in a meadow or along a stream at a park. See if a park close by offers an exercise boot camp, a yoga class, or has exercise equipment.

Related: 5 Reasons to Have an Exercise Buddy

Whether you exercise at the gym, at home, or somewhere else, staying active is the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Take advantage of the great outdoors for your next workout.

Related Articles