Benefits of Running Outside

May 6, 2016

Now that the weather is breaking across most of the nation and spring is finally taking hold, I'm sure many of you runners are jumping at the chance to get outside. The sweet smell of spring is beckoning you to leave the confines of the 4 walls of your home and treadmill noise behind. Well, it turns out there is more than just that desire that makes it a good decision to get outside.

Some of the obvious reasons are the fresh air and the scenery which makes your run more interesting, beautiful, and much better than staring at the treadmill clock. It gives you the proper terrain training if you are planning on running a race, such as hills, turns, uneven pavement, gravel, and the visualization of crossing that finish line.

Factors like motivation and consistency are also great benefits. In a 2011 survey, according to the Huffington Post, "exercising outdoors is a reinforcing behavior." The study found that outdoor exercisers "declared a greater intent to repeat the activity at a later date than gym goers." Exercising more often may help to lower the risk of being overweight, or shed extra pounds.

It seems your mental health also benefits from getting outside and soaking up that Vitamin D. This time, also according to the Huffington Post, "A 2011 study found that outdoor exercise was associated with greater decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression when compared to indoor activity." And a 2010 study found that even just "5 minutes of exercise in a green space can improve mood and self esteem."

So fold up that treadmill, use it to hang your laundry, or just give it a well deserved break for the summer. Then lace up those running shoes and get outside, where the benefits of running far outrun those of the treadmill.

And "Remember, the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running." - Sarah Condor, Runner/Author, Run with it!

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