Q: Coach, is it better to exercise indoors or outdoors? – Jenna, Denver
A: That’s a really good question. Generally speaking, I’m in favor of any physical activity that you’ll actually do, whether indoors or out. But in fact, studies have shown that outdoor exercise has advantages to that performed inside. For one thing, outdoor exercise tends to be more physically challenging to the body due to the varying terrain. Your heart beats faster and therefore you burn more calories. It’s more visually stimulating, too, so you don’t get bored as quickly on your run or ride. Indoors, you might be inclined to just hop off your treadmill or elliptical when you get bored. Plus, you don’t have to wait your turn for a machine – the outdoors is like a great big playground, with plenty of room for everyone.
Aside from the physical benefits of outdoor exercise, many of my clients report that they simply enjoy outdoor exercise more than indoor workouts. The fresh air and vitamin D both act as stress relievers and mood boosters which puts them in a more positive frame of mind.
So take advantage of the upcoming warm weather months and Get Outdoors! In fact, in the coming weeks, we’ll be posting lots ideas for getting fit in the great outdoors. So stay tuned!