A recent article in The New York Times’ blog, Well, explained the benefits of exercising outside.In comparing walking inside, on a treadmill or track vs. walking outside the article states:
“In virtually all of the studies, the volunteers reported enjoying the outside activity more and, on subsequent psychological tests, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked outside.”
I concurred with their findings based on my own personal experience.
I enjoyed doing things outside since childhood. I would simply run around or ride bicycles with my friend. It was always enjoyable to play a pickup game of softball, basketball or tag football. In high school, I was on track and cross-country teams. We always did our workouts outside. Running with my teammates during practice was not just a workout but a social activity. On long training runs, there is a lot of conversation and friendships are built.
Running, walking or bicycling outside still gives me a sense of freedom and independence. I can vary my route or turn down a different street. I don’t have to drive to a gym first. I often try to discover new paths, parks and places to go. Being outside and going to new places breaks up the monotony of exercise and keeps it fresh.
It’s easy too. I just put on my exercise clothes appropriate for the weather and go out the back door to start my run. When I walk, I can usually just go in whatever clothes I am currently wearing. I take my dog with me, because he is always ready to go for a walk.