Nowadays, everyone, particularly youngsters are very much conscious of their health and fitness. And in the last couple of years, a new fitness trend known as outdoor gyms has spread in cities worldwide. It has made the workout, with the right outdoor fitness equipment, accessible to everybody.
But which is better: working out indoors or exercising outdoors? Why so many people are investing in outdoor fitness equipment? Is it really worth? Let’s get to know the truth with science-backed studies. Also, pick up on some of the best gears to use while exercising outdoors which are recommended by Life Time Academy Instructor Devon Bates, NASM-CPT.
Exercise is exercise, no matter where you do it, right?
Not necessarily. Your chosen workout location can impact your exercise and you can improve your exercise regime just by changing up where you do it.
Of course, your local gym is a predictable, dependable workout location. One of the best things about it is that it is climate controlled. Bad weather cannot be used as an excuse to skip your exercise. You also have the support of the training experts to teach you techniques and show you how to use a new piece of equipment.
However, exercising outdoors is linked to better mental health. And it is only one major benefit among many.
Mental Health Benefits through Outdoor Workout
One thing that comes to our mind when we think about making use of outdoor exercise equipment is physical exercise. But it is not the only thing that you strive for while working out. By exercising first thing in the morning, you ensure that your day goes well.
You will find many exercise equipment that put pressure on different parts of the body wherein you start feeling the positive change in there. Only when you are mentally fit, you can concentrate on your work and spread positive vibes.
People who feel breathless find that exercising outside the shelter with outdoor gym equipment helps them to breathe more freely. It is because an open environment gives the lungs a better flow of breathing. When you breathe in oxygenated air, it gives fuel to your lungs as well.
Exercising outdoors allows your body to sweat more thereby burning out your calories and decreasing obesity. Your body will feel lighter and it will bring mental satisfaction to your mind.
Moreover, it has been found that your immune system gets better when you exercise outside using outdoor fitness equipment. The truth is that your body becomes stronger through increased resistance when it works out hard and sweats. And when your body is fit, there is reduced mental tension. You will also find it lowers your blood pressure, giving you a sense of a happier situation and making you more optimistic.
Research points out that fresh air, grass, trees and the colors of the natural environment positively impact our mental health and physical well-being.
Get a burst of Vitamin D
Another benefit your body gets while you exercise outside is Vitamin D which you get from the sun. It helps you battle diseases such as osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and cancer even mentally. Getting plenty of sunlight is especially important if you are obese, as studies suggest that people who are overweight are more likely to be lacking in vitamin D.
Deficiency of Vitamin D in the body can lead to osteoporosis, brittle bones and a bone disorder called rickets. The deficiency has also been linked to an increased risk of autoimmune diseases, metabolic syndrome, increased cancer risk, heart disease and depression.
Work out longer and harder
In addition, working outdoors will make you feel motivated and energetic. Many people find that they work harder and for a longer period while exercising on outdoor exercise equipment as compared to the normal exercise done on indoor equipment.
A research conducted in older adults found out that you are more likely to perform physical activities more while outdoors than indoors. It is because the environment is more stimulating and leads to more enjoyment. The outdoor environment makes you feel more energetic and enthusiastic, so you exercise longer and harder, with decreased levels of tension or anger.
Outdoor workouts allow better concentration
Do you really want to concentrate on the way you exercise? There is no better way than exercising using outdoor gym equipment. Yes, there will be no feeling of awkwardness to exercise in front of others, unlike in a gym, no one will tell you to run an errand, no loud music or television sounds to break down your concentration. You can focus and comfortably exercise as per your requirements.
No time for workouts? Go for outdoor fitness equipment
Having no time to exercise is one of the main reasons why people invest in outdoor fitness equipment. Everyone is leading a busy lifestyle. But you can have your gym installed outside your home and conveniently workout every day. You don’t need extra time to head for the gym and wait for your turn to get exercised.
Also, you don’t have to waste time navigating the traffic or trying to find a place to park your car while you have fitness equipment installed outside as they are usually installed in the park or a garden.
Save on membership fee
You can save money on gym membership too if you install outdoor gym kits outside your home. Every day, new brand gyms are coming up in the market. They charge you high fees to help you remain fit. Think, what if the same exercises can be done using outdoor exercise equipment at your own place? You will be saving plenty of cash in the long run.
Trainers are also the ones who benefit from conducting exercise regimes in outdoor spaces as well. Often times, a local permit and small fee are all that’s required to hold training sessions in public use areas. It means reduced overhead and increased earnings.
Workout in an environment-friendly atmosphere
You are better off working in an environment-friendly atmosphere rather than in an air-conditioned gym. The natural air will pump up your lungs with fresh oxygen and keep you young and healthy. Moreover, exercising outdoors will make you feel grounded, intensify your connection to your environment and increase your appreciation for the beauty around you.
Research shows that an average of 30 minutes spent in nature will result in increased physical activity and lower high blood pressure and depression. And as per the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air even when it comes to large cities and metropolitan areas. Going for a hike, don`t miss out on our hiking guides.
Lesser risk of injury
Though it may sound surprising, people who work on outdoor gym equipment are less likely to suffer from injury. When you work on a treadmill, the repetitive pounding made with no change in terrain can be tough on the body. It often leads to overuse injuries.
But when you run outside, you are more likely to flex your ankles and be met with downhill terrain. It will give you stronger and more resilient muscles overall.
According to a study conducted at the University of Queensland, Australia, it was found that those who exercised outdoors daily had higher levels of serotonin than those who workout mainly indoors. Serotonin is a hormone that regulates mood. Those people were also found to have higher levels of endorphins, the post-exercise rush that comes about after exercise while exercising outside, particularly in green environments.
Elevate your self-esteem
Nature's stimulation can positively impact your brain as per an article in Environmental Science & Technology, British researchers. Outdoor exercise stimulates all five senses in a way that indoor activities can never do.
In another research, it was found that as little as five minutes of outdoor exercise can improve your self-esteem. Any outdoor location works but being near greenery or water enhances this effect. So why not take your outdoor fitness equipment to your favorite location and enjoy the free benefit nature has to offer?
Top gears for outdoor exercise
You strictly don’t need outdoor fitness kits to have a great outdoor workout but these gears recommended by Life Time Academy Instructor Devon Bates, NASM-CPT can increase your options and help you achieve a fit body.
Resistance Tubing for strength training: One of the most convenient tools for outdoor strength training is the flexible surgical tubing, with a handle on either end. If you have a medium-weighted band, it is enough for a whole slew of movements, including rows, curls, pulldowns, triceps extensions, chest presses and flyes, and Romanian deadlifts.
Medicine Balls for body-weight exercise: Get a ball that’s no heavier than 10 percent of your body weight to perform slams, partner drills, overhead throwing, portable resistance, and carries.
TRX for the resistance moves: With just two nylon straps with handles that weigh about 2 pounds, you can perform varied resistance moves. To use, simply loop the long end onto a swingset, around a lamppost or over a tree branch to get a gym-full of exercise machines. Rows, leg curls, pushups, lunges, jumps, and squat variations are just a few of the exercises you can do.
Kettlebells for swings: Kettlebells are extremely versatile and portable, even more so than a barbell. You can pick up at least one medium-size one (16 kg for men, 12 kg for women) to perform swings, presses, get-ups, and power moves of all kinds.
Sandbags for grips and core strength: Sandbags make great outdoor exercise equipment to practice grip and core strength. Fill a bag with sand appropriate to your fitness level, carry it to your workout spot, and perform lunges, squats, presses, rows, and other strength-training.
Bicycles for cardio fitness: It is one of the most practical workout tools out there. You can bike to your workout spot and get a warm-up in the process; go biking with your friends, spouse, and kids for a calming outing; commute on your bike to work or get a mountain bike and hit the trail for a major challenge to both cardio fitness and coordination.
Paddleboards, Kayaks, Surfboards for tilting reflex: Floating implements like these and also implements such as skateboards, skates, and other wheeled devices will challenge the tilting reflex. As per research, improvements in the tilting-reflex can significantly reduce your chances of orthopedic injury.
Jumping rope conditioner for coordination: It is one of the most underrated workouts for coordination and athleticism and also the perfect warm-up for any workout. You can perform 10 reps of each type of jump, then, sprint for five seconds, turn around and sprint for another five seconds to the rope.
Cycling bikes. Cycling is one of the most effective ways to stay in shape. But make sure you use the right cycling bike.
Above all- Make it FUN!
Outdoor fitness can spur on creativity, and with variety, your options are limitless. It is what makes exercising with outdoor gym equipment so much more fun and exciting. And when things are fun and exciting, you are more likely to continue and stay consistent with what you are trying to accomplish with your fitness and exercise goals.
Exercise early: You will be more likely to find excuses to avoid exercising outdoors at the end of the day. Your energy is higher in the morning and the air is usually cleaner. Also, the temperature tends to be lower, and you’ll get to enjoy the post-workout benefits such as lowered stress and better mood.
Avoid temperature extremes: It is best to avoid exercising in temperature extremes though your body can adapt to colder or warmer weather. Watch out for signs of overheating, including headache, nausea, dizziness, faintness, cramping, and palpitations.
Too much sun is bad: Though some sun is good for you, too much sun is not. Don’t forget to use sunscreen and wear sunglasses and a hat with a brim.
Drink plenty of water: Before a 30-minute workout, drink about 8 to 10 ounces of water 30 minutes before exercising outdoors to keep your body hydrated. Remember that you can lose water through sweating even in cooler weather. Also, you may start to get dehydrated before you feel thirsty.
Use some good gear: Take advantage of the latest technology and get the right fitness gear. Using the right outdoor fitness equipment will go a long way in helping you build a fit body.