5 reasons why outdoor workouts are ace!

7 October 2015 by
First published: 5 May 2015

‘Running on an uneven surface while dodging puddles and potholes will activate muscles that aren’t used on a treadmill’

Spring has sprung and we can’t wait to take it outside – we think you should too, so we’ve come up with 5 reasons why outdoor workouts are ace! Slap on some sunscreen, lace up and hit the park… what are you waiting for?

You get a dose of vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones. Although it’s found in food such as eggs, meat and oily fish, we get most of our vitamin D from exposure to sunlight.

Research suggests that decreased outdoor activity is one of the main reasons that people may become deficient in vitamin D, and reduced levels are linked to a number of health problems. So taking your routine al fresco means you can be at one with nature and ward off illness. Just make sure you enjoy the sun safely and wear sunscreen.

It makes you happy

The body isn’t the only thing that responds well to exercising outside, it can also be brilliant for your mental health. Regular outdoor workouts can increase your sense of wellbeing, concentration, positivity, happiness and self-esteem as well as helping to combat stress, anxiety and depression.

It challenges your body

Different terrain challenges your body in different ways and you blast more calories by moving your body in varied and complex ways. The body adapts fairly quickly, so mixing up your programmes keeps your workouts effective. For instance, running on an uneven surface while dodging puddles and potholes will activate muscles that aren’t used while running on a straight, smooth treadmill. Variables can include the route and the gradient, but also the temperature. The body has to work harder to regulate its core temperature, whether it’s working hard to cool down or warm up.

It’s more dynamic

One of the things that the great outdoors offers is a lot of space. You can really go for it outside with fewer restrictions, so if you want to jump higher or run further you’ll be able to amp up your routine to create a more challenging and fat-burning workout. Plus, you’ll be able to hop, step and jump for longer, because time flies when you’re not in the gym being bored by static scenery.

It’s free!

Hitting the streets or green spaces for your fitness fix costs you nothing and many parks now have exercise equipment installed. You can run, walk or play sports with friends – and, if you’re stuck for things to do, you can use playground equipment, benches and even trees to create resistance or circuit workouts. A simple outdoor workout could include sprints, step-ups, incline press-ups and triceps dips on benches and pull-ups or body rows on climbing frames.