Contact Us
man performing pull ups in a park

The benefits of outdoor training vs. indoor gym training 

Even when the weather is less than balmy, just a few minutes’ daily exercising outdoors can yield a host of physical and mental health benefits which you won’t always feel when working out in an indoor gym. This is endorsed by The Body Coach, Joe Wicks who’s workouts originally begun outside. 

Here, we take a look at some of the mental and physical advantages of al fresco exercising, as compared to training within four walls, allowing you to make an informed decision about the way you get (and stay) fit. 

men playing table tennis table in a park

19th April 2023

Psychological benefits of outdoor exercise

There are many of these – including reduced depression, tension, anxiety and even anger. (The UK loses around 11.7 million working days a year to these and related conditions.) 

Here are some others: 

  • 2018 East Anglia University study found that exposure to green space significantly reduces levels of salivary cortisol – a key indicator of psychological stress. 
  • Your mood improves. Equally, just five minutes of working out away from four walls boosts self-esteem. This is significant given that 40% of women are deterred from exercising due to confidence issues. 
  • Just being outside should help you feel freer, more adventurous, more in the moment and with a greater sense of perspective. So you will enjoy some important mindfulness benefits, plus increased mental and physical energy. 
  • If you want to step the exercise intensively up then consider using resistance bands at an outdoor gym to make it more challenging. 


Physical benefits of outdoor exercise 

  • A 2016 study found that greater exposure to green spaces was linked to a 12% reduction in mortality rate, with a lowered risk of problems including cancer, kidney and lung diseases.
  • Additionally, Vitamin D is essential to healthy bones, muscles and teeth as well as mood. The NHS suggests from late March or early April until the end of September, the majority of people can get their Vitamin D directly from sunlight. Summer is a great time to use an outdoor gym, learn more about the benefits of Summer Time Fitness
  • While any form of exercise helps you enjoy a better night’s sleep, an outside workout increases that effect, since daylight helps reinforce the body’s natural Circadian rhythms. 
  • The same study mentioned above, from East Anglia University, found that physical benefits to exposure to green space included a reduced chance of Type II diabetes, lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have also shown that physical activity outdoors lowers the heart rate. (Typically, a lower resting heart rate implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness.) 


You burn more calories working outside 

Estimates vary, but most figures reckon you can burn up to 10% more calories when running or walking outdoors as opposed to inside. When you prepare for any activity, your brain increases your respiration rate, while the amount of oxygen you consume increases. If you exercise outside, your ability to consume oxygen and balance CO2 levels internally increase still further and at the same time, you will be up against the elements. 


Free Workouts Outside 

There are no costly gym memberships to shell out for, and no complicated contracts to get out of should your circumstances change. What’s more, many outdoor gyms are located in beautiful parks and public green spaces. One example of these outdoor spaces is the Field of Remembrance in Windlesham, Surrey where we installed a 7-piece gym. 

At Fresh Air Fitness we work with a number of Local Parish and Borough Councils to deliver outdoor gyms to communities across the UK. Our outdoor gym equipment service for councils is a complete end to end solution including installation and full user instructions.

To find out where your nearest park gym is take a look at our Outdoor Gym map

Taking the initial steps outside for your first outdoor exercise session may feel daunting, but once you’ve cleared that hurdle, there’s no looking back. Be prepared for the weather and terrain with the right kit including footwear, stay hydrated and protect yourself with sunblock if necessary. 

Finally, keeping all your kit in one place so it’s easily accessible can make it quicker and easier to get through the door. 

Back to all blog posts

Make an enquiry

Alternatively, speak to one of our experts: 01483 608 860

Need help choosing the right product?


Find out who uses our equipment