How exercising outside may make you fitter—and happier.
Forget staying put (and bored!) on a treadmill this spring. It pays to relocate your workout to the great outdoors. In one 2011 review of 11 studies, people who ran or walked in nature were less stressed, more energized—and said they wanted to do it again, compared to when they were inside a gym.
If the promise of green leaves and sunshine isn’t enough to motivate you to move, consider the body benefits. For one, the open air offers unique physical challenges that you don’t get from a treadmill or a stationery bike—wind resistance, hills, changing terrain—and a harder workout can target muscles in different ways and may burn additional calories.
Additionally, another review of research published in Extreme Physiology & Medicine suggests that exercise actually feels easier outside because people perceive it as less physically demanding. They tend to naturally move faster and ignore exercise-related discomfort (like when your muscles burn jogging up a hill), perhaps because of the enjoyable, but distracting, escape nature provides.
Convinced yet? Here’s a look at how many calories a variety of outdoor exercises burn per hour. Get moving!
(Calorie burned estimates based on a 150-lb woman and a 180-lb man.)
Walking the dog