Working Out at the Gym vs. Outdoors

Mar 23, 2022

Discover the Pros & Cons of Both

Is there really a difference between indoor and outdoor exercise activities? When it comes to fitness, there are several activities that people can engage in. In fact, some of them can be done indoors while others are only possible outdoors. Some of these activities are even done both indoors and out.

Trying out different types of exercise can help you determine what type of workouts you enjoy and which ones you don’t like as much. So first, let’s take a look at some of the different types of fitness activities so you can determine what is right for you. But don’t fret…you’ll likely want to try a little of everything, and you might also realize, a little of everything is what works best to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Strength training is a very important part of any exercise regimen since it builds strength (as the name implies), improves muscle tone, and boosts metabolism. Strength training often involves weight lifting, but it can also include exercises that work against gravity, such as push-ups or pull-ups. Strength training is a great way to improve your overall health and well-being.

Aerobics refers to any physical exercise that makes your heart beat faster than usual. It tones your muscles and burns fat by increasing your body’s need for oxygen. Millions of people use aerobic exercises to lose weight and build endurance.

So now that the types of exercises have been explained (in simple terms), let’s consider which environment gives you the most benefits between working out in a gym or outside? There is an ongoing debate in the fitness world about where is best for exercising. There are differences in how your environment affects your workout quality and your mental and physical health, so let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.

Pros and Cons of Working Out Outdoors

1. Pro: Improved mental wellbeing

Compared with indoor exercise, a study shows that exercising in “natural environments” was linked to “greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreased tension, confusion, anger and depression” and more energy. People who exercise outside mention that they felt happier, more satisfied, and wanted to repeat the activity at a later date.

2. Pro: More strenuous, longer workouts

Outdoor runners tend to flex their ankles more and expend more energy when compared to treadmill runners. Cyclists are also shown to burn more calories when riding outdoors. It has been shown that people who exercise outside tend to do so for longer than those who exercised inside.

3. Pro: Vitamin D intake

Of course, outdoor exercises mean more exposure to the sun, which gives you vitamin D. Our bodies need vitamin D to absorb calcium for strong bone growth. However, don’t forget the sunscreen!!!

4. Pro: It’s FREE

One benefit of outdoor exercise is the ability to simply step out of your home and go! You don’t need a membership to get started.

5. Con: Exposure to the elements

In addition to the reference above related to getting your sunscreen ready, you are at the whim of mother nature when you exercise outside: snow, sleet, rain, hail, freezing cold, strong winds — you can’t control it. If exercising outside is your go-to, you need to be prepared for any type of weather. This also means that living in a city or highly-populated area will expose you to air pollutants and possible allergens.

Pros and Cons of Working Out at a Gym or Fitness Club

1. Pro: Controlled environment

Exercising in a gym or inside means you (most likely) have air conditioning and heat to make the air comfortable. You don’t need to worry about mother nature or the elements outside. If you live in a city, escaping to the cleaner air inside a gym can also be a blessing for anyone suffering from asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems.

2. Pro: Availability of GROUP fitness or Studio & Team Training Classes

Studies shows that exercising in a group setting helps to teach accountability while giving participants a safe and effective workout. Taking classes like yoga, Zumba, and Studio Fitness classes attract people who may not like to run or walk outside. These classes also offer the opportunity to build your social circles and enjoy the fun and camaraderie of a fitness community.

3. Pro: Access to facilities

At a gym, you can use locker rooms, showers, and even saunas or tanning facilities in some cases. If you stop to exercise on your way to work, this can be a much-needed perk so you can get your workout in and get clean before heading to the office.

4. Con: Cost

The monthly and annual fees for gym memberships vary widely depending on location, but the average monthly fee for a gym membership ranges from $40 to $50 (more when you add enrollment or joining fees), and up to $125-$150 when looking at studio boutiques. Be sure to contact gyms you are interested in and take a tour. Also, ask what is included in different membership types. This is important! If you are looking for the benefits of a studio boutique, consider a gym like FITNESS PROJECT, which offers studio classes and benefits for less than half the costs, plus you get the benefits of a big box gym.

So all this being said, where is the best place to work out? The answer depends on what you are looking for — if climate control is your top requirement, then a gym is the place for you. If you want the mental health benefits and cost savings, then maybe taking your workout outside is the way to go. Most important of all is that you exercise, no matter where you decide to do it. Whether indoors or outdoors, it’s important that you exercise! However, why choose just one? By having a gym membership, you can mix things up, and on those beautiful days that you want to get outside and enjoy a run, just do it!

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