Going to the gym has always been a pleasure for me. I love the different pieces of equipment, the relationships I have built with so many great minds, and just the atmosphere of being surrounded by people who were so determined for self-improvement.

On the flipside of that, I love to workout outside as well just to switch it up and it gives me a fresh new creative mindset on accomplishing my goals.  Below are five great benefits for working out outside if you aren’t a fan of the gym.

  • Save Money on Gas and a Gym Membership – Gym memberships can be pretty pricey and usually range anywhere between $40-$60 a month. On top of that, the gas to get to and from the gym can add up too, especially if you don’t live close to your gym. By exercising outdoors, you can save hundreds of dollars per year and still reap all the great benefits of working out and being healthy. Not to mention, you don’t have to worry about crowds nor the hours of the gym, outside is open 24/7 and you can even get in your workout on your lunch break at work!
  • Mood Enhancement – With exercising outdoors, you’ll breath in fresh air and an increased oxygen consumption helps release the feel-good brain chemical known as serotonin. There have also been a series of studies that show working out outside can reduce stress, anxiety, and help with depression. So not only are you getting fit and active, but you’ll be enhancing your mental well-being as well!
  • Change of Scenery – Sometimes we can get burnt out and bored with our routine at the gym, using the same pieces of equipment, starting at the same four walls everyday. Getting exercise outdoors allows you to take in great views, fresh air, soak up the sun and increase on your vitamin D. It also allows you to really think and be more creative with your workouts – which lead to not burning out and keeping things fresh.
  • Burn More Calories? – Some research shows that resistance from the wind, hills, uneven ground, and different types of terrain, can often lead to burning more calories because your body has to work harder as it has to respond to the all of the different elements you normally wouldn’t find on a treadmill or another piece of equipment. Walking or running outside on terrain that changes constantly, teaches your body to adapt to that environment which can lead to a strengthening in your connective tissue, which may aid in injury prevention.
  • Cleaner Air and Fewer Germs – Between the locker rooms, the tanning beds, to the equipment itself – a dark, dingy gym can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. According to a study from the Environmental Protection Agency, the air in a gym is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. So save your sick days and get outside!

Mike Endress has been in the health and wellness industry for over ten years now and has been helping others reach their goals ever since. He graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Exercise Science and is also a certified health coach and personal trainer. Mike’s passion for health and wellness not only shines through in his work here at Inova but in his personal life as well. Back in his earlier years, Mike competed as an amateur bodybuilder and his goal is to get back on stage soon. He also enjoys golfing, going to Orioles baseball games, and spending time with family and friends.