The Added Benefits Of Exercising Outside

The Added Benefits Of Exercising Outside
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, hacks and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Lifehacker Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a fix.

Exercise of any kind is always good for you, but a report by the New York Times points out that getting out of the gym (or your house) adds a few subtle benefits. Your stride is different when running outside as opposed to running on a treadmill, and you’re more likely to hit hills that add challenges to your workout.

Picture: lululemon athletica/Flickr

In some cases, it’s all about just being outdoors. You’ll also run into wind resistance on a bike outdoors, which means you burn calories faster because you’re expending more energy. A few smaller studies also suggest we’re willing to exercise more and for a longer period of time when we’re outdoors. The New York Times explains why that might be:

Studies haven’t yet established why, physiologically, exercising outside might improve dispositions or inspire greater commitment to an exercise program. A few small studies have found that people have lower blood levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress, after exerting themselves outside as compared with inside. There’s speculation, too, that exposure to direct sunlight, known to affect mood, plays a role.

It’s still a lot of speculation at this point, but if you’re having trouble sticking to an exercise routine it might be worthwhile to move those activities outdoors.

The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors [New York Times]


  • The writer of this – Gretchen Reynolds – recently wrote a book which is well worth a read. You can get it for well under $20 (look up on Booko) or from your local library. As well as being full of interesting info, she is also quite an entertaining author. The first 20 minutes of the title refers to the fact that you get most of the benefits from exercise during this first period

    The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer

Log in to comment on this story!