It is well documented that physical activity has favorable health effects, but does it matter where you exercise? Are there more health benefits of exercising outdoors compared to indoors?
Some prefer working out in the gym or in the privacy of their own home, while others enjoy getting out for some fresh air. Exercise is good for you whether you prefer doing it indoors or outdoors. However, according to a systematic review that included more than 800 adults, outdoor exercise was associated with more health benefits compared to indoor activity.
Data from eleven controlled trials were included in the study. The results showed favorable effects on self- reported mental health after exercising outdoors. These effects were not seen after exercising indoors. Exercising outdoors was associated with decreased depression, anger and tension.
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In addition, participants reported increased energy and greater enjoyment with outdoors activities. They also declared greater intent to repeat the activity at a later date. The review is supported by another study which found that physical activity in an outdoor environment was associated with a lower risk of poor mental health to a greater extent than indoor activity.
Evidence supports the physical and mental health benefits of exercise. These studies showed that exercising outside might have more favorable effects on our mental health compared to exercising indoor. Now that the spring is in the air and the snow is disappearing, it’s the perfect time to get outside and be active.
Line Skarsem Reitlo, PhD candidate at CERG