10 Reasons You Should Be Exercising Outdoors During the Pandemic

If the gym is closed, the next best thing is working out in your backyard or at a local park.

With thousands of gyms closed across the country, many of us are having to get creative to keep up with our fitness. Working out from a home gym or even just in the living room can provide a lot of the same benefits, but there’s a better option for those of us who live in cities where it’s possible: working out outdoors. It’s possible to safely be outside working out as long as you can comply with social distancing guidelines by keeping a 6-foot distance between yourself and others. Here are 10 reasons you should be working out outside during the pandemic.

1. You work out harder.

When you go for a jog outside instead of on a treadmill, you exert more muscles in your body. Things like wind resistance and the texture of the ground play a role in how many calories you burn. Basically any exercise done at home in a non-resistant environment (air conditioning, carpet, etc.) will burn more calories if you’re outside sweating, keeping warm in the cold, or on an incline at a hiking trail.

2. You get essential vitamin D from sunlight.

Getting in your essential vitamins and nutrients can be tough during a pandemic. Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D, which helps the body produce the calcium necessary for strong bones. It’s like taking a supplement without taking a supplement.

3. You save money.

Gym memberships, exercise equipment, and online classes can all cost a lot of money. For example, Peloton bikes start at $2,200 for the bike itself, plus a subscription fee of $40 per month to take classes. You know what costs zero dollars and zero cents? Walking outside.

4. It shakes you out of your mental routine.

Most of us are spending a lot of time at home these days. Even outside of pandemic circumstances, many people suffer from aches and pains due to sitting down at a 9-to-5 office job all day. There’s an element of mental stimulation to working out in a changing outdoor environment that just isn’t there when you’re working out at home or in the gym.

5. Fresh air is better for your body.

It’s been scientifically proven that fresh air has an energizing effect on the body and improves circulation in the lungs. That means more energy for your workouts and more energy for you as a person. Overall, breathing fresh air is better for your health than breathing anything that would come out of an AC unit.

6. It means less screen time, which is better for your mental health.

It’s easy to be on your phone when you’re working out at home. How many guys have you seen running on the treadmill at the gym with their eyes glazed over, glued to whatever the TV is playing in front of them? When you go for a jog in the park or commit to do your workout in a place without wifi, you are able to be more fully present and enjoy the experience.

7. It can help you sleep better at night.

Studies have shown that working out outside can help with insomnia. It can be difficult to ever feel tired during a pandemic because we’re all inside basically all day long. Going outside will stimulate your body and help you get a better night’s rest.

8. It creates resistance variation in your workout.

The key to making gains when you work out is to progressively increase resistance. No matter what we do when we exercise, if we do the same thing over and over, our muscles with adjust to that and stop growing. This could be a great way to shake up the routine if your body is adjusted to indoor workouts. It will have to adapt and grow in a new environment that is potentially more difficult.

9. You have more space to work out.

If you’re used to working out at the gym, working out in your basement or living room can start to feel a little cramped. Especially if you’re also working from home. You have more physical space to do exercises like lunges and more space to stretch before and after workouts if you are working out outdoors.

10. Being outdoors is good for you.

In general, being outdoors is great for your overall health. It improves circulation and elevates mood. So, what are you waiting for? Try taking your workouts to a local park or trail today.

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Tess Pollok
Tess Pollok is a sports writers and social media manager reporting on the latest trends in bodybuilding, fitness, and strength sports. She also focuses on community engagement with our ever-growing social media network.