Outdoor Fitness – why the trend is here to stay
Outdoor training is the prominent trend of the fitness industry today. This is no surprise, considering that it allows you to enjoy the benefits of both working out and getting fresh air. In fact, various studies indicate that where you get your sweat on makes all the difference. The growing number of outdoor fitness solutions provide new and better ways to improve our physical and mental health.
Over the past years, the fitness industry has changed along with fitness perceptions. Instead of only aiming for a flawless appearance, we are now interested in overall wellness: that is, mental health and optimal recovery, along with physical fitness. Fitness is no longer merely a workout but a communal experience.
According to the 2019 European Health and Fitness Market Report by Europe Active and Deloitte, fitness activities have shifted from gyms and exclusive fitness clubs to informal environments such as parks, homes, and other outdoor venues. Community-driven, low-cost, on-the-go fitness alternatives, as well as home-made workouts, are the megatrends of fitness today.
Why outdoor fitness?
On average, we spend only 7% of our time outdoors. Aside from spending our workdays inside, the increase in social media and digital entertainment platforms have changed the way we spend our free time as we tend to spend more time on our mobile devices and computers than ever before.
We are all familiar with the benefits of working out for both our mental and physical fitness. As exercise is considered the best medicine to prevent health issues, all of us should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity and strength training each week.
Simultaneously, we are highly recommended to include outdoor time in our daily routines. Exercising outdoors allows us to get the most out of the workout and the outdoor time.
Getting enough fresh air in our system has proved to impact our mood, brain functions, and overall wellness. In addition to the feel-good factors exercising outdoors also has some practical benefits for optimizing your daily schedules, costs, and results of your workouts.
- Outdoor training is good for your health.
According to Advanced Neurotherapy, getting enough oxygen is the key to improving your brain functions. Fresh air increases your ability to concentrate, reduces stress levels, and even lowers your heart rate and blood pressure.
Enjoying fresh air and sunlight increases your vitamin D intake and provides a boost for your immune system. Breathing in airborne plant chemicals improves your immune responses and serves as a stimulus for your body to protect itself. As such, you are likely to recover faster and stay healthier.
Studies also indicate that you release more dopamine and serotonin while exercising outdoors than during an indoor workout. As such, you will notice a positive change in your mood, energy levels, self-esteem, and creativity. The post-exercise endorphin rush is also higher after a workout outdoors.
- Exercising outdoors saves time and money.
We all know that it can be hard to find time for regular workouts. On-the-go physical exercises in nature allow you to skip commuting time. Combining training and outdoor time is a sound solution for someone with a strict daily schedule.
Outdoor fitness is often also the cheaper option for working out. Besides, when the outdoors is your playground, you can work out whenever you want, wherever you want, and as often as you want!
3. Exercising outdoors makes the workout more effective
If your goal is to burn calories or lose weight, we have good news: you are likely to burn more calories outdoors. If running is your choice's physical activity, consider running in nature instead of a treadmill run as the wind provides extra resistance. The varying terrain also makes the run more challenging – and it’s better for your joints than a flat gym floor.
However, the most significant advantage of an outdoor fitness environment is that it may change your overall exercising behavior.
A varying scenery stimulates your brain, keeps you engaged, and reduces the boredom of working out. According to Athletic Business, you are more likely to exercise for a more extended period of time - and more often - when you do it in nature. People who exercise outdoors are also more likely to keep returning to physical activities.