The Outdoor Gym

Nothing wrong in joining an indoor gym, after all exercise is good for your health and wellbeing. Gym exercise offers safety, air-conditioning, a variety of equipment; they are also convenient and predictable. However, I believe you should consider outdoor exercise, as a valuable adjunct, or even an alternative, to exercising indoors.

Choosing to exercise outdoors, in natural environments is associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy. The benefits to exercising outdoors that can’t be replicated on a treadmill, or a recumbent bicycle. Something guaranteed to annoy a fitness instructor, is to see someone, set a treadmill in motion at high speed, then hang on to the handrail controls, or sit on a cycle machine reading a magazine.

A comparison of stride between running indoors and outdoors is different. Generally, runners flex their ankles more when they run outside. Downhill running that isn’t easily replicated on a treadmill, muscles are stressed differently than running on horizontal or uphill terrain. Running on a range of different surfaces, like concrete, grass, mud, and sand is more challenging. Factor in wind resistance, undulating terrain, and outdoors exercise tends, too, to be more strenuous than the indoor version, burning more calories.

Exercise outdoors ignites our primary instincts, we use our senses of sight and smell to detect what is going on around us, in the environment, (except when listening to an mp3 player). In daylight, the body can absorb, essential Vitamin D, especially if your regular job is indoors. Vitamin D provided by exposure not strengthens bones as well as your immune system. Exposure to sunlight is a stimulant free treatment for depression and other emotional disorders. Sunlight encourages the release of Endorphins, which can improve your sense of well-being.

Training partners will contribute safety, and motivation. Wearing appropriate technical clothing will mean you can enjoy exercise, in all weather conditions. The correct footwear is very important, as it can mean the difference between comfort and injury. Chances are, there is an exercise group session in your local neighbourhood.

Alternative pursuits: –

  • Nordic walking
  • Hiking
  • Cycling
  • Mountain Biking
  • Orienteering
  • Climbing
  • Wild water swimming
  • Gig Rowing
  • Surfing / windsurfing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Stand up paddle boarding
  • Mountain boarding
  • Triathlon
  • Kayaking

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