We all know that exercise of any type keeps us healthy, happy, and fit. Now that warmer weather is here, you don’t need to keep your workout confined to your living room or gym! Outdoor exercise is not only fun, it provides additional benefits that indoor exercise does not. Here are some of the things we like best about working out in the great outdoors! So. Many. Options! There are a ton of options for outdoor exercise. You can ride horses, garden, walk or run, golf, play tennis, swim (at an outdoor pool or beach), hike, rock climb…the list goes on. In many cities, you can even join a local group that holds boot camp or yoga classes at a community park! The huge variety in activities you can do outside makes it hard to get bored or stuck in a rut; if you’re over one thing, just move on to the next until you find your favorite! Being one with nature. It may sound funny, but studies have shown that “green exercise” (or “physical activity in the presence of nature” according to a study published in the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science & Technology) improves a person’s general well-being and mental state. That same study suggests that it only takes a short amount of time (from 5 to 15 minutes) to feel the benefits of an outdoor activity (including walking, gardening, golfing, fishing, horse-riding and others). Because exercising outdoors can improve a person’s mood, it is often easier to create a habit of exercising regularly. It’s much easier to repeatedly do something we enjoy! Exposure to Vitamin D in the form of natural light. The number one way to absorb Vitamin D is through safe sun exposure. Exercising outdoors allows Vitamin D into our systems, which according to the Mayo Clinic may improve a person’s general, as well as mental, health. You may also find that after exercising outdoors, it’s easier to sleep better at night. The reason for this, according to the Lighting Research Center in New York, is because morning light helps to reset circadian rhythms, which signal your body when it’s time to wake up and go to sleep. Experts often recommend outdoor, morning workouts for this reason. It’s just a little bit harder, but you probably won’t notice it. Exercising outdoors means that you must react and adapt to external factors that are usually climate controlled in a gym. Wind drag, weather, and high or low temperatures are all added aspects that will make you work just a little bit harder. For example, if you’re walking or running outside, you’ll need to deal with natural inclines as well as walking or running downhill, which is not something easily replicated on a treadmill. Dealing with external factors will keep your workout exciting and target muscles than aren’t often utilized in the gym. Make sure to read our advice on making the most of your outdoor workouts! What’s your favorite outdoor exercise?