Summer time in MN is the PERFECT time to get outdoors and exercise. There is so much to do from swimming, biking, running, golfing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, tennis, playing on the playground – you name it – and it is better outside.
Seriously – it is better outside – not only from a physical aspect, but a mental and spiritual one as well.
Did you know that you stride differently when running outdoors? Generally, you flex their ankles more when you run outside. You also, at least occasionally, run downhill, a movement that isn’t easily done on a treadmill and that stresses muscles differently than running on flat or uphill terrain.
Plus – outdoor exercise tends to be more strenuous than the indoor version. There are some studies comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of running outside. Treadmill runners expended less energy to cover the same distance as those striding across the ground outside. Basically because when you are indoors you face no wind resistance or changes in terrain. So – for the same length of time you are working harder outside. Might as well get outside and make your time more effective!
The same dynamic has been shown to apply to cycling, where wind drag can result in much greater energy demands during 25 miles of outdoor cycling than the same distance on a stationary bike. That means if you have limited time and want to burn as many calories as possible, you should hit the road instead of the gym.
But what about the impact getting outside has on your mental and spiritual being? Studies have shown that you just plain enjoy your time more when you are outside. 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. Those should be reasons enough to skip the treadmill and get outside!
But – if you need a few more reasons – there have been studies which have shown that exercise outside vs inside can lower your cortisol more, improve your disposition and inspire a greater commitment to an exercise program!
Seriously people – let’s all get outside and exercise! Need some ideas? Here are three to get you started.
Move your body, put good things in and ENJOY every day!