Why Exercising Outside is Better
Exercising Outside is 1.5 Times Better than a Day at the Gym
Believe it or not exercise is still the best way to lose weight, build a healthier body, and live longer. Exercise can build muscle, decrease stress, and helps prevent high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. It may also prolong the onset of Alzheimer’s.
But that doesn’t mean you have to become a “gym rat” to be healthy. In fact, a surprising amount of scientific and anecdotal evidence shows that exercising outside is much better than just working out in the gym.
Gyms Can Be Unhealthy
Some gyms are cramped, closed off, and rely heavily on inadequate air filtration systems. This can lead to an unhealthy buildup of harmful carbon dioxide, bacteria, mold, and even carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) if not properly maintained.
Does the locker room at your gym have a funky smell? Is the air inside always moist? Are the windows ever open? Have you seen mold or mildew in forgotten corners?
In 2015 researchers sampled the air quality from a number of gyms. They recorded high levels of:
- Carbon dioxide
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- Particle pollution
Breathing all of this in can be bad, and breathing it in when you’re exerting yourself can be even worse.
Exercising Outside Burns More Calories
Think of Mother Nature as your weight loss buddy. Simply put: people who exercise outside burn more calories. Why?
1) Increased Metabolism
When exercising in cooler-than-average environments your body has to burn more energy to stay at a constant temperature. This extra bodily stress (not to be associated with bad mental stress) can actually improve cardiovascular health and increase the speed with which you see results.
2) Improved Muscle Activation
People exercise differently outside. Your body works muscles you’ve previously ignored. This, in turn, helps you burn more calories. In fact, treadmill users burn significantly fewer calories than those who run outside.
Exercising Outside Has “Tangential Benefits”
In addition to burning more calories, exercising outside has a host of health benefits that scientists are just starting to understand.
Improved Immune Health
Exposure to naturally occurring phytoncide (a particulate released by trees) can have a tremendous effect on your immune system—even increasing natural anti-cancer proteins in immune cells.
Exercising in nature (wooded trails, by streams, on hilltops) can actually decrease mental stress. “Forest Bathing” (as it’s called in Japanese) actually decreases cortisol production—the “stress chemical” that helps create belly fat.
Regular exposure to the sun can help regulate vitamin and hormone levels. This helps individuals deal with depression and combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (which affects roughly 7%-10% of people).
Exercising Outdoors is Simply More Fun
When you’re not stuck on the treadmill you have more fun! Psychological tests administered after outdoor workouts show individuals score significantly higher on the scale associated with
And when you’re having more fun, you’re more apt to stick with your exercise program. People who exercise outside tend to exercise 30 minutes more per week than typical “gym rats.”
A New Way to the New You
It’s time to rethink the way you’ve traditionally approached health and wellness. You don’t have to eat bland, restrictive diets or spend days trapped in the gym. Use the tools available to you (like The Hollywood 48 Hour Miracle Diet® and Mother Nature’s playground) to break free of those outdated notions and begin building a better you.