It’s Summertime! Should You Exercise Indoors Or Outdoors?

Whether you exercise in the comfort of your own home, a gym or prefer to be outdoors, there are important considerations between indoor and outdoor workouts that you should be aware of. Your physical therapist will be able to design an exercise program with enough variation to keep you healthy and motivated throughout summer.

Staying Indoors

Here are some of the advantages of exercising indoors:

Climate control: Most people choose to exercise indoors to escape extreme temperatures and humidity. Environment control: Accidents can happen anywhere, but the risk of injury decreases with indoor equipment. Intensity control: Machines such as the treadmill, elliptical and bicycle allow you to modify your speed, incline/level and duration of exercise. In addition; These machines can also lower the impact on your feet, knees, hips and spine. This is something outdoor trails cannot always provide. Most aerobic machines are equipped with heart rate monitors, which help you determine the intensity of your workout. If you are unsure of how high or low your heart rate should be while exercising, call us for more information. Precise muscle targeting: Several machines in a gym can help to strengthen certain muscle groups of the body (like quadriceps or biceps) and allow you to restore muscle imbalance.

Taking It Outside

When the weather’s great, sunshine can do wonders for a workout. Exercises like swimming, walking, running, cycling, or playing sports (like soccer, basketball, tennis, and golf) with your friends and family represent a wonderful way to challenge your muscles. Sunlight is good for your skin and tends to uplift the mind and body. When comparing outdoor walking with walking on a treadmill, here are some differences you may not be aware of: Outdoor walking challenges your balance and stability. Sloped sidewalks and roads challenge your balance.

Curbs and steps challenge stability and strength.

There may be several sudden starts and stops with people or traffic lights, working your muscles in a different way by coming to a complete stop, then starting again from zero. Dodging people, their children, and their pets will help challenge a side-to-side motion as well as forward motion.
Exposure to sunlight is an easy way for you to get your daily dose of Vitamin D and some fresh air. Remember to always wear sunscreen when exercising in the sun, even on a partially cloudy day. Being outdoors can also give you a chance you have social or family gatherings while combining physical activities.
Walk along the beach or ride a bicycle at a park or your favorite trail. The sounds of nature can be quite healing and offer you a peaceful experience unlike an indoor workout. Take your family to the park and try doing some jumping jacks or jump rope while your kids are on the monkey bars. Take advantage of the wide open space and quiet moments this summer.

Not All Exercise Is Created Equal

So what’s the bottom line?
A recent study published in 2011 (Thompson Coon et al) looked at existing studies on indoor and outdoor exercises. It concluded that:

“…most trials showed an improvement in mental well-being:
compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural
environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization,
increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases
in tension, confusion, anger and depression. Participants also
reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and
stated that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later
date.”

Thus, outdoor exercise may be preferable to indoor exercise for your mental and perhaps even physical state.

This is exactly where we come in – to help you plan a safe, effective program. We will advise you about the
best indoor and outdoor exercises for your needs and help you answer the following questions:
What areas of your body should you be addressing more?
How do you know if your heart rate is at the level it should be?
When should you challenge yourself more, and when should you bring down the intensity?
Call our office today and find out how to get started with the right exercise program this summer.

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