8 Benefits of Training Outdoors25 Nov 2013, by Training in
Do you do most of your exercise and training in the gym? Whilst there are obvious practical benefits to training indoors, exercising outdoors can have many advantages – and not just the ever-changing scenery (though that is one!)
Varied exercise outside means we’re likely to work our bodies in new and different ways each time we venture out, and additional stresses and strains that are new to our body’s cells are actually what causes us to see improvements, because they send signals to the cells, telling them they need to build additional strength in our muscles, lungs and heart.
Here at the UFB, our trainers know that, for instance, running outside is much better for your fitness levels. Head Coach, Andy Morton: “For starters, you don’t run on a treadmill in the same way as when you’re outside running on varied terrain. Your stride is different and you tend to run faster outside, so you burn more calories and build up more endurance.”
Here are the UFB’s Top 8 benefits to Outdoor Exercise:
1. Benefits of sunshine
The vitamin D provided by exposure to the sun has great benefits. It strengthens our immune system, makes our bones stronger and also actually helps protect our bodies against cancer. Yes, vitamin D can be obtained from other sources, but it is widely agreed that the sun is still the best source of vitamin D for our bodies. Also, exposure to sunlight is a common treatment for depression and other mood disorders. Studies show that depressed exercisers who go for a walk outdoors have better self esteem and generally feel happier than those who train solely indoors. Endorphins, which can raise your mood and keep it stable, are released when you spend time in the sun.
2. More Fresh Air
There are few people that wouldn’t prefer the fresh, crispness of the great outdoors to the musty, fusty sweaty aromas that emanate from your average gym! But it’s not just the smell factor – there have been many studies into air quality that have proven indoor air to contain up to twice as many pollutants as outdoor air. So a regular visit to an outdoor bootcamp can benefit the internal body as well as help you get toned.
3. Mental Stimulation
Outdoor exercise provides mental stimulation that indoor workouts simply cannot match. It doesn’t matter if you’re working out at home or at your local gym, you’ll always be surrounded by the same boring walls and visual/mental stimulus, whereas training outside means you have constantly changing scenery that excites and stimulates your brain. Give your mind a workout as well as your bum and tum!
4. Psychological Benefits
An increasing amount of research shows us that outdoor activity is psychologically beneficial as well as physiologically. Exercising amongst nature, especially i.e. amongst trees and wildlife, gives a healthy boost to a person’s mood and helps combat anxiety, lowers tension and alleviates the high levels of stress that many of us get from our everyday lives. That’s why our bootcamp is the perfect place to get your fitness on track.
5. Easier on the body
From a purely physiological perspective, exercising outdoors is in fact easier on the body. For example, running outside means less stress on the body and the heart rate remains lower than when running on a treadmill indoors at the same speed.
6. New Exercises
Despite some claims that exercise simulations are just as good as the real thing, it just isn’t true. Running outdoors is physically more demanding than a treadmill even when it’s set on an incline. Or take cycling, for example. Cycling outside gives you more opportunities to push yourself than setting a program on a stationary bike machine (no matter how many bells and whistles it may have!).
7. More varied workout
When you run outside you encounter varied terrain and conditions that cannot be simulated in the gym on a treadmill. You get hills and different surfaces, such as concrete, grass, sand and – of course – earth and mud! All these surfaces and gradients exercise your body in different ways. When you outdoors, you have to flex your limbs differently because the contour of the terrain is varied, which can never be simulated to a sufficient extent on a treadmill. In addition, when running outside, you sometimes find yourself running downhill, which puts unique stresses and strains on your body giving you much more of a comprehensive workout.
New Ligament Discovered
8. Helps you to stick at it
Here at the UFB, we believe that if you exercise in natural surroundings, you’re much more likely to stick at it long after you’ve left the bootcamp, and this applies to training outdoors generally. Studies have shown that part of the reason why you become fitter if you exercise outside is because spurning the confines of a temperature-and-environment-controlled gym will actually make you stick with your workout for longer and you’ll want to exercise more often.
Want to kickstart your new outdoor-exercise regime? Why not book a few days at the UFB – The Ultimate Fitness Bootcamp, and receive expert training and nutritional advice in the heart of the Sussex countryside. For more information, click here.