Guest Post: Outdoor Exercise Versus Working Out at the Gym

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Hello readers! Today I have a special read for you guys on a topic that many people might spend some debate on: exercising outdoors vs at the gym, and what are the benefits of taking the activity outside. I’ve learned firsthand that, while I don’t do it as often as I’d like, being outside is a totally different experience than working out indoors, especially during warmer months – it’s just more interesting! But I’ll leave it to Jim to explain his take on this….

Source: Fit Sugar

Outdoor Exercise Versus the Gym

At the Huffington Post, Stacy Berman, the creative mind behind Stacy’s Bootcamp and The
Body Mind Project, describes the human body as the original all-terrain vehicle. She states that
we were made to navigate the outdoors, and though gym settings are controlled and slick, they
really can’t compare to the workout we can get just by walking out the door.

For example, consider treadmills and contrast it with walking or running outside. While you are
engaging the same muscles in both instances, you’ll find that when you are on a treadmill, some
of the work is being done for you. You know, for example, that the motion of the treadmill will be
consistent and that means that you can take it easy on some of the micro-movements that you
need to use while you are running outdoors. The treadmill is doing some of the mechanical work
for you, and some people say that you can increase the intensity of your workout by as much as
ten percent when you head outside to do it.

Another important part of running or working out outside is that you need more concentration
to do so. When you are working out at the gym, you know what motions you are expected to
go through. Because of that, you can do things like watch television or even read. However,
when you are working out outdoors, you’ll need to concentrate and to make split-second minor
adjustments that help you keep your balance even as you keep on running or stretching. These
minor movements are one way to keep your body guessing, and if you are familiar with effective
workout philosophy, you know that the more you surprise your body, the better off you will be
when it comes to weight loss and muscle gain.

Don’t forget that going outside gets your daily dose of vitamin D, a vitamin that you need to
stave off all kinds physical problems. Vitamin D comes from exposure to the sun. Even half an
hour a day can drastically improve your mood and your general health, and unfortunately, you
won’t get it from staying inside the gym. Whether you head out for a run or you decide to do
your stretches in the backyard, you’ll find that getting out in the sun can help a great deal.

Of course we can’t always exercise outside as we might want to. Perhaps you live in a part of
the country that has a seven-month long winter or maybe you regularly deal with temperatures
that top out the thermometers. Sometimes, no matter how much we want to go out, we have to
stay in. This is where home gym equipment comes in. Treadmills and ellipticals can help you
make up the shortfall on days when you can’t go outside.

When you want something different, make it a point to simply go outside. Go for a walk or a run,
and see what kind of difference a simple change like this can make.

Source: Web MD

Jim Rollince is head of the Creative Writing Department at Gym Source. He enjoys writing on topics in the fields of Fitness, Nutrition, and Healthy Living. Feel free to email him at


Last Updated on March 27, 2019

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  1. haha, I definitely prefer the great outdoors. No matter the weather. Once, I ran seven miles in 17 degrees fahrenheit– with snow, ice, and everything. I’ve also run in nintey degree weather– nothing over that though!

  2. I love running outdoors and dread the treadmill. I actually find that I have a much harder time running on a treadmill…not sure why! Chicago does a great job challenging runners with it’s extreme weather (cold one day, blazing the next…fun right?)

  3. My elliptical machine is my go to if I can’t get outside. But I do love walking/running outside 🙂
    xo Emilie @ Hungry Delights

  4. It is great to have a main outdoor adventure workout, with supplemental gym workout to focus on those muscles that will improve your outdoor activity. Learning a new kiteboard trick is really difficult without having the arm strength from a gym. The gym is such a sterile environment, it usually bores me.

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