Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

Written by Kimberly Rothman

At a time when we have more gyms, more books on exercise, and have access to a vast amount of information on exercise on the internet, why are we so desperately unfit as a nation?

We need to do it outside!!!

Research has shown that we can burn up to 30% more calories outside. Why? Because our core temperature will always work to keep around 36.8C. It takes energy to do this, the bodies currency for this is calories, and so you will burn more calories by simply being outside, let alone the many other benefits associated with training outdoors.

If you have woken up in the morning with a “foggy” head, the chances are your heating is up a little high and you are slightly dehydrated, remember that by the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. You then go off to a stuffy gym, usually with air conditioning, (not a very healthy environment to work out in) and spend all your time on the running machine, bored to tears!

As you arrive at your outdoor training location the fresh air hits you and you may wonder why you are not in your cosy gym having just one more coffee before you get going. Let me explain why in 5 minutes you will have doubled your chances of getting the results you actually want!

Training outside

Training outside, especially outside of the summer months means you will need to keep moving, and if you are training with a good group, you will be doing a mixture of aerobic and aneorobic work which will in no time be releasing those happy hormones called endorphins.

The social benefits of group training are well documented and in a nutshell mean better results because you push yourself harder than training alone, and the camaraderie of a group means you turn up far more often!


Vitamin D is made in the skin and is made from sunlight, it is essential to take in this nutrient which helps protect our immune system and helps in bone growth and maintenance of bone to prevent such diseases as osteoporosis.

The fresh air you breathe outside is very different from a gym environment and does not carry the colds and coughs that the air conditioning does so well! The outdoor has a much more immediate effect on your brain patterns and if you have ever gone for a run or exercised outside you will know that the effect is hugely more invigorating than running on a treadmill.

Better terrain

Coupled with all of the above is the fact that the outdoors gives us a terrain that works constantly on our proprioception (our balancing ability), a vital part in our everyday health, and well being.

The running machine for instance changes our natural gait and if you have ever comapred running times, indoor to out you will know they are much easier on a machine, and that is because it takes 103 muscles to take just one step. On a machine your body is being forced to work differently and the support muscles do not need to work nearly quite as hard.

The down side of this is, you are robbing yourself of the bodies natural ability to work in unison.

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