By Martin Ebner
Wide open spaces
Even the biggest gyms can’t compete with the great outdoors when it comes to space. If you are a newbie exerciser and don’t quite have the confidence yet to perform certain exercises in front of others, outdoor exercise could be your best bet to improve your fitness level and your confidence away from the prying eyes of the often judgmental gym fanatics.
If you would prefer to ogle sweaty gorillas and superficial Barbie dolls, perhaps the gym is your best bet. If however, you prefer city views, beaches, rivers, lakes and mountains, drop the dumbbells right now and take your workout outside. Not only are the views better but by changing up the scenery regularly, you’re far more likely to get lost in your surroundings allowing you to lose track of time and perhaps even forget that you’re exercising altogether. You never know, you might just end up going harder for longer resulting in more impressive results.
More challenging cardio workouts
While cardio machines at the gym do well to mimic such cardiovascular activities as running, cycling and cross country skiing, over time they can get boring as hell, offer little variety and simply can’t compete with the constantly changing environment of the great outdoors. When your body has to adapt to varied terrain, it’s forced to work twice as hard. The bigger the challenge, the better the results!
Asides from being free and abundant, fresh air helps release serotonin, the body’s natural feel good chemical. So... If you’re somebody that spends most of their waking hours in the confines of a claustrophobic cubical inside a poorly lit office, outdoor exercise could be a great solution to relieve stress and boost your mood at the end of a hectic day.
While the gym definitely comes with an abundance of high tech equipment and machines, it can get a little boring repeating the same workouts day in day out. The great outdoors on the other hand has everything you could possibly need to keep your workout plan varied and challenging. From inclines, steps and benches to grass, gravel and sand, there really is no shortage of obstacles and terrain to keep even the fittest of the fit satisfied.
At times, going to the gym can feel more like a chore than a pleasure which makes sticking to a long-term exercise plan very difficult. If you want to start exercising but just can’t handle the idea of the gym, outdoor exercise could be a fantastic solution. By opting to train outdoors over the gym, the enjoyment factor of your workouts can increase, improving your chances of turning exercise from an infrequent occurrence to a regular long time habit instead.
Soak up the sun
Now, if you’re from Scotland like myself, you’re unlikely to get sunburnt through the clouds. Regardless, all it takes is a little sun exposure to provide you with a healthy dose of Vitamin D which can help to improve sleep, immune function and increase the production of endorphins - the “feel good hormones”.
The gym costs money, fresh air does not. Instead of signing up to a year’s worth of €100 monthly direct debits, save that cash and splash out on something you actually want to buy. Enough said!
Related article: Alternative ways to get fit