The outdoors is humanity’s original gym. It appears it might still be the best place to workout.
Author and New York Times fitness writer Gretchen Reynolds cites a variety of studies that indicate outdoor exercise delivers benefits that cannot be matched indoors.
Highlights from her NYT piece:
• People stride differently when running outdoors, particularly when traveling irregular terrain. This can strengthen muscles.
Outdoor workouts can sustain motivation to exercise. (REI photos: Damon Parrish)
• Outdoor exercise tends to be more strenuous than the indoor version, whether walking, running or cycling.
• Participants find outdoor exercise to be more enjoyable and capable of boosting their mood.
• Outdoor exercise is more motivational and more likely to be repeated.
Lots of us REI types, of course, figured all this out many moons ago. I appreciate my indoor gym when the weather turns dank (more common than I’d choose here in the Pacific Northwest), but outdoors exercise is where it’s at.
It's all more evidence that reminds us fresh air is good for us. REI has just rolled out an assortment of gear targeted at outdoor fitness. What outdoor workout routines have proven to be effective for you?