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Tuesday, October 13 2015 @ 08:53 AM UTC

The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors

Biking ElsewhereBy GRETCHEN REYNOLDS, New York Times

The same dynamic has been shown to apply to cycling, where wind drag can result in much greater energy demands during 25 miles of outdoor cycling than the same distance on a stationary bike. That means if you have limited time and want to burn as many calories as possible, you should hit the road instead of the gym.

But there seem to be other, more ineffable advantages to getting outside to work out. In a number of recent studies, volunteers have been asked to go for two walks for the same time or distance — one inside, usually on a treadmill or around a track, the other outdoors. In virtually all of the studies, the volunteers reported enjoying the outside activity more and, on subsequent psychological tests, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked outside.

Of course, those studies were small-scale, short-term — only two walks — and squishy in their scientific parameters, relying heavily on subjective responses. But a study last year of older adults found, objectively, that those who exercised outside exercised longer and more often than those working out indoors.

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