You begin the all-too-familiar routine of droning away on the treadmill under flickering fluorescent lighting.
Day in, day out you follow this mundane routine, without seeing the kind of results you were promised by your “qualified” trainer, who decided to quit his day job because he loves working out so much.
You can still hear him saying, “You do squats? Those will make your abs to big. Stick with bench and curls.”
It’s time to break up the routine! One of the simplest ways to do that is to get outdoors.
You probably spend all day indoors at your job, sitting under fluorescent lights; you don’t need your workouts to be like that too.
Here are five reasons why you should get outdoors for your next workout.
Reason 1: Extended Workout Times
Get off the treadmill and head outdoors for a new adventure as you run through your neighborhood or grab a kettlebell and hit the park. You’ll be surprised how much faster time travels when you aren’t in the gym. When you’re distracted by the environment, you’re less aware of your effort, such as how far you’ve run or how tired you are. You will be shocked at how quickly your workout flies by.
Reason 2: Increased Calorie Burn
You are pretty limited on the treadmill or elliptical machine; the traditional hamster wheel workout cannot touch the effect of the complex terrain you will experience in the outdoors. Exercising outdoors promotes the use stabilization muscles that wouldn’t typically be hit in the consistent, stable environment provided by a indoor gym. This means increased calorie burn as you perform each movement.
Reason 3: Enhanced Mood
Playing outdoors is like a natural Prozac; breathing fresh air opposed to the recycled kind can create a feeling of euphoria coming from the body’s release of feel-good endorphins. It’s not that your muscles respond better to it, but rather your mind does, making you want to work harder. What’s more, after a 30-minute walk in the park you feel less stressed, while some people who take their walks indoors actually feel more stressed (no need for studies here, just give both a shot and see how it goes).
Reason 4: Increased Mental Clarity
Breaking a sweat outdoors may make you smarter; humans were hunter-gatherers and farmers for some 300,000 generations. We have only been industrialized for about six to eight generations, meaning that we are outdoor animals living largely inside. Closeness to nature increases our well-being, it has an immunizing effect by protecting us from future stresses, and helping us concentrate and think more clearly
Reason 5: More Oxygen
There is no doubt that fresh air outdoors is superior to the recycled air you breathe inside of a building. Fresh air will even give you more energy. Just 20 minutes of training outdoors is equivalent to drinking one cup of coffee in terms of its energy-boosting effects. The vitamin D gained from natural sunlight, plus the fresh air and freedom of movement are so much more preferable to the strip lights and air conditioning of the gym any day.