Is Exercising Outdoors Better For Your Health?

Countless individuals have reaped the benefits of putting in regular time at the gym. But suppose you could help your body out even more by exercising outdoors? According to a 2019 study, an outdoor workout might be a better bet. 

In and Out  

Published in the journal Mental Health & Prevention, this report was authored by faculty members from Germany’s University of Freiburg. A total of 140 adults participants were asked to engage in one form of either indoor or outdoor exercise. The specific types of indoor/outdoor exercises are listed below:

Indoor Exercises Outdoor Exercises 
Aerobics
Aqua Aerobics
Basketball
Fencing
Swimming
Volleyball
Running
Soccer
Mountain Biking 

No matter what activity the subjects performed, the amount of time spent exercising consistently ranged from one to two and a half hours. 

Before engaging in any physical activity, each participant was required to complete questionnaires detailing their mental wellbeing. Specifically, these questionnaires detailed the participants’ levels of calmness, stress and anxiety. Upon completing their exercise periods, the subjects were once again asked to fill out these questionnaires. 

More Sun, Less Stress? 

Regardless of where they exercise, the participants exhibited less stress following their workouts. However, the effect was more pronounced amongst those in the outdoor group. Adults who exercised indoors saw their stress levels fall 8 percent; for those who worked out in the sun, the decrease in stress levels was 13 percent. 

In summarizing their report’s conclusions, the authors wrote that their findings “could nonetheless suggest that green exercise, and running outdoors in particular, has stronger positive effects on acute mood and perceived stress levels than non-green types of exercise.”

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