What are the advantages of exercising outdoors?

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Running outside has some advantages over running on a treadmill:

  • Running outside simulates race or endurance event conditions. Runners will be better prepared for running in different temperatures, wind conditions, around curves and up and down hills.
  • Running outside beats boredom, especially when running long distances. The colors, people and scenery make for an interesting run.
  • Running outside provides exposure to vitamin D.
  • Being outdoors helps lift mood and prevent depression.
  • Running outside provides a harder workout. Runners have to carry their own weight when propelling themselves forward.

Treadmill runners can simulate outdoor running by increasing the incline on the treadmill 1 to 2 percent. And if training for a hilly event, runners can simulate a race course on the treadmill by using the incline when they know the course has hills coming up. However, for endurance and long runs, the treadmill will get boring fast as you run in place for a long period of time.

Outdoor, or "green," exercise has appealing advantages: It's often cheaper and easier than a gym or fitness club, usually provides a better visual and sensory experience than being inside and may be more easily adapted to your changing interests and needs. What's more, exercising in a natural environment—rather than indoors on a treadmill—produces higher levels of positive emotions, with less tension and stress, and encourages you to exercise longer.

Outdoor classes have sprung up around the United States, bridging the gap between gyms and green exercise. Fresh-air exercise sessions use body weight, resistance tubes and exercise balls to work out in public places such as parks, playgrounds and trails.

A daily dose of nature, gained in as little as a 10-minute walk, is important for the health of adults and children alike. 

Continue Learning about Types Of Exercise

Types Of Exercise

Types Of Exercise

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.