Indoor vs. Outdoor Fitness: What's Better?

With summer in full swing, it's the perfect time to mix up your routine by taking your workout outside. After all, exercising outdoors may improve energy levels and decrease stress to a greater extent than working out inside. But if your habitat is more concrete jungle than bucolic park, don't sweat it—there are plenty of benefits to exercising inside as well.

Getting Outdoors

According to one review that included more than 800 subjects, exercising outdoors came with a slew of benefits. Participants reported feelings of revitalization, decreased anger, and increased energy. Another study found that the outdoors have an overall positive effect on vitality, or your sense of enthusiasm, aliveness, and energy. Finally, simply spending more time outside has been shown to prevent increases in obesity among children.

And there are other perks. Vitamin D—one of the fat-soluble vitamins essential to strong bones and a healthy immune system—can be attained via sun exposure. While much debate exists around the guidelines, some researchers suggest that five to 30 minutes of sun exposure between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. at least twice a week is sufficient for vitamin D synthesis. Of course, this recommendation also comes with a caveat you already know: Always wear sunscreen and cover up when possible.

More: The Ultimate Sunscreen Resource

Likewise, if you're outside, you need to pay attention to the weather. Both extreme heat and cold can pose a variety of issues. If you're sweating during the summer, it's important to know the symptoms of dehydration and heat exhaustion. In the winter, experts advise you dress in multiple layers to stay warm and get familiar with the early signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

More from Greatist: Should I Wear Sunscreen in Winter?

Taking It Inside

If you live in an area prone to air pollution (looking at you, L.A.), you may be better off working out indoors. Pollution and other environmental factors can also trigger respiratory problems like allergies and asthma.

More: 4 Benefits of Outdoor Training

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Greatist.com

Greatist is one of the fastest-growing fitness, health and happiness media start-ups. Check out more health and fitness news, tips, healthy recipes, expert opinion, and fun times at Greatist.com.

Greatist is one of the fastest-growing fitness, health and happiness media start-ups. Check out more health and fitness news, tips, healthy recipes, expert opinion, and fun times at Greatist.com.

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