Skip The Gym: Health Benefits Of Outdoor Exercise

This article got me thinking about exercise…

Some people swear by the treadmill. Others can’t wait for the warm weather and the opportunities for outdoor exercise that come with it. But while you might think it comes down to personal preference, there’s a small body of research that suggests outdoor exercise might have even more health benefits than a trip to the gym.

The most recent study polled nearly 2,000 active participants in the 2008 Scottish Health Survey and found that outdoor physical activity had a 50 percent greater positive effect on mental health than going to the gym. The researchers, from Glasgow University, found that walking, running, biking and other outdoor activities through green space lowered stress, The Telegraph reported.

It’s not the first study to suggest outdoor exercise boosts mental health, but lead researcher Richard Mitchell, Ph.D., told The Telegraph that while the results themselves aren’t surprising, the extent to which outdoor exercise beats out indoor activity is. “I wasn’t surprised by the findings that exercise in natural environments is good for your mental health, but I was surprised by just how much better it is for your mental health to exercise in a green place like a forest, than in other places like the gym,” he said. “The message to doctors, planners and policy makers is that these places need protecting and promoting.”

A 2011 study found that outdoor exercise was associated with greater decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression when compared to indoor activity. And a 2010 study found that even just five minutes of exercise in a green space can improve mood and self-esteem, the BBC reported.

But there are other reasons to take your next sweat session outside. Click through the benefits below, then add your personal reasons for exercising outside in the comments!

For more on fitness and exercise, click here.” via Skip The Gym: Health Benefits Of Outdoor Exercise.

You don’t see this kind of stuff on the elliptical at the Y:

Here’s part of my story; for years I blamed my fat ass on the ‘fact’ that the Y was 18 miles away and I couldn’t afford an elliptical machine. I used to be a runner until I herniated a disc in 1990 and since then, I let myself get overweight because nothing else matched the benefits I got from running. Enter an inexpensive application for my Android called Endomondo Pro. People get motivated to exercise in different ways. I need to compete against myself and I need to see that I’m making progress; Endomondo helps with both and more…

Back in March, I was 15 lbs. heavier and had a waist size that was two inches bigger. I turned to exercises that I could do anywhere at any time instead of relying on the elliptical machine far away up in Sturgeon Bay. Later, when the weather got better I added biking to power walking and thanks to Endomondo I know that since I’ve started, I’ve had 99 exercise bouts and my workout time and distance [thanks to the bike] is steadily increasing:

Endomondo challenges me by giving me details stats of my workouts like this, too:

Thanks to Endomondo, I know I’m making progress; yesterday I shattered my PR for a 10 mile bike ride by almost 5 minutes which is more than a 10% reduction in time. This, for reasons I don’t really understand because of the way I’m wired helps ME to stay motivated and looking forward to exercise every day. Thanks to Endomondo, I’ve also learned that it takes me only 3-4 minutes longer to get to work by bike than by car, so why not take the bike? I show up more alert anyway!!!

It made me laugh this morning to know that at least one other person I know is using Endomondo well. David Kanigan writes about his challenges with Mr. Endomondo over at his blog:

3 miles out.  Mr. Endomondo tells me I’m 8 seconds ahead of yesterday’s pace.  (OK, momentum is now shifting.  I fumble around to find AC-DC on a playlist.  No more shuffling or fumbling around.  AC-DC is going to bring me home the last 2.5 miles.)

4 miles out.  Mr. Endomondo tells me that I’m 45 seconds ahead. (AC-DCs Back in Black comes on.

‘Cause I’m back

Yes, I’m back

Well, I’m back

Yes, I’m back

Well, I’m back, back

(Well) I’m back in black

Yes, I’m back in black

5 miles out.  Mr. Endomondo tells me that I’m 65 seconds ahead. (I think I’ve broken Endomondo’s spirit.  He didn’t seem to have the same confident tone with this time check.  Teach you to go messing with me)

via Relaxing Sunday Run… – Lead.Learn.Live..

David, I’m going to suggest you either use Pandora or Spotify to get a more upbeat workout playlist! Oh, and I use the female voice so she’s Ms. Endomondo to me… :-D

Sometime today, I’ll take my 100th trip with Endomondo. Those trips — and the behaviors that surround them — have changed my life for good and for Good…

btw, thanks to David Kanigan for the walk video, too…

4 thoughts on “Skip The Gym: Health Benefits Of Outdoor Exercise

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