Take Your Workout Outside

Featured Article, Fitness, News and Advice, Outdoor Activity, Workout Plans
on May 27, 2014
benefits of exercising outside

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.)

Trail running

Men: 759

Women: 633

Mountain biking

Men: 694

Women: 578

Doubles tennis

Men: 490

Women: 408


Men: 383

Women: 319

Walking the dog 

Men: 245

Women: 204

Beach volleyball

Men: 653

Women: 544


Men: 408

Women: 340