If you’d rather listen to the sounds of waves crashing and wind rustling than the whir of a treadmill, and look at the blue sky or grass underfoot instead of a weight rack or the back of some sweaty guys’ head while you workout, well…there’s science behind how you’re feeling.
A few studies over the past years have proven the benefits of exercising in a natural environment versus inside a gym or studio. A 2011 study published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal honed in improvement in both mental and physical wellbeing from exercise outdoors:
“…compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression. Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and stated that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date.”
And a 2013 study in Extreme Physiology and Medical Journal pointed to exercising in green spaces actually lowering levels of perceived exertion, stress reduction, resorting mental fatigue and improving moods, self-esteem and overall perceived health.
That study even stated that, “…exercise within green spaces and the great outdoors may be a useful natural medicine…”
We draw a lot of rejuvenation, balance, and joy from exercising in natural environments. Most of the time, after a run or workout on the beach, an outdoor pool session or any time in the ocean, we feel like we’ve had a giant dose of that medicine. These studies confirm all that mental and physical positivity.
The next time you’re craving some “natural medicine,” “increased energy,” “greater enjoyment” or “decrease in tension, confusion and anger” (and who doesn’t crave all of that?), head outside for a workout.
Consider a run on a trail instead of a treadmill. Climb some stairs in a stadium instead of on a machine. Head to your local park and do your core workout on the grass. Or come join us for an XPT workout where we hit the beach and outdoor pool.
Whatever workout you do in a natural environment, be sure to really breathe in that fresh air and take a look around you while you sweat. Your mind and your body will thank you for it.