The Many Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

Outdoor Exercise

Some people swear by the gym. There is just something reassuring about having a rigid routine. Others, however, desire a little more variety in their workouts. For this group, Outdoor Exercise is a must when the weather begins to warm.

“Training outside provides a change of scenery from a sweaty, bustling gym to a technology-free zone; not to mention far more challenging terrain,” says Mark Barroso, Men’s Journal.

Counting Down the Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults need 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. “The problem is, for many of us, exercise can be boring and repetitive. But it doesn’t have to be,” writes Elizabeth Harmon, Huffington Post. The solution could be as simple as moving your workout outdoors.

“There’s some surprising research-backed news that says ‘green exercise’ may be the best way to lose weight, feel pretty great and even get smarter,” writes Marissa Stephenson, SELF.

Ease Your Mind

“One obvious positive impact of active involvement in the outdoors is physical fitness, which directly impacts on obesity and health in later life,” writes Randall Williams, Chair of the English Outdoor Council. “Less obvious, but nevertheless very real, is the physiological and psychological impact on well being.”

A 2008 study conducted by researchers at Glasgow University found that outdoor exercise had a 50 percent greater effect on mental health than going to the gym. Activities cited in the study include walking, running, and biking, though most outdoor workouts have the same stress relieving effect.

“I wasn’t surprised by the findings that exercise in natural environments is good for your mental health,,” says lead researcher Richard Mitchell, Ph.D., “but I was surprised by just how much better it is for your mental health to exercise in a green place like a forest, than in other places like the gym.”

A seperate 2010 study found that even just five minutes of exercise outdoors can improve mood and self-esteem.


“Sports such as hiking, canoeing, swimming, racket and ball sports and numerous other physical activities give you more choices for enjoyable exercise, which is likely to keep you motivated,” says Tina Pashley of LIVESTRONG.

An Ohio State University study suggests you’re 23 percent more likely to repeat an outdoor workout session than a session in a gym.

“If outdoor activity encourages more activity, then it is a good thing,” says Jacqueline Kerr, a professor at the University of California, San Diego. After all, “despite the fitness industry boom, we are not seeing changes in national physical activity levels, so gyms are not the answer.”


“Outdoor exercise can be adapted to anyone’s level of fitness,” advises Tina Vindum, the author of Tina Vindum’s Outdoor Fitness: Step Out of the Gym into the Best Shape of Your Life and the first outdoor fitness instructor accredited by the American Council on Exercise.

Change It Up

One of the most effective ways to get in shape and stay in shape is to switch up your workouts – keep your body guessing. Trying new outdoor workouts is a great way to do just that. “You’ll not only boost your calorie burn, you’ll hit muscles you’d never reach on your beloved machines,” says Lauren Passell, Fitness Magazine.

Natural Energy

“People often tend to forget about the importance of spending time outside and underestimate the health benefits,” says Urmet Seepter,

There is just something invigorating being outdoors. According to researchers at the University of Rochester, just 20 active minutes outside can wake up your body and mind, making you feel more alive.

“Nature is fuel for the soul, “ says Richard Ryan, researcher and professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. “Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature.”

Stretch Your Legs

Gyms can be rather cramped, especially during peak season – the New Year’s resolution rush in early January, and the quest for the perfect beach body in mid-spring. With outdoor workouts, “there’s plenty of room to sprint, throw, and explore your inner athlete,” says Barroso.

Outdoor Adventures with Terrapin Adventures

“Time spent in outdoor recreation leads to a range of benefits, from reduced obesity rates to strengthened family ties,” says Robert Manning, professor of recreation management at the University of Vermont.

Visit us at Terrapin Adventures to soar through the air, defy gravity, and enjoy our many Outdoor Adventures! We offer several guided tours and outdoor activities, such as biking, backpacking, kayaking, and geocaching, just to name a few. Activities levels range from easy to moderate, so there is something for everyone! And we are great with beginners.

Find Your Next Adventure!

Terrapin Adventures is open year round for groups and everyday for rec guests seeking outdoor fun during summer – weekends the rest of year.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at to learn more.


  1. Barroso, Mark. “10 Best Outdoor Workouts to Burn Fat and Build Muscle.” Men’s Journal, Men’s Journal, 11 Apr. 2017,
  2. Passell, Lauren. “10 Exercises to Turn the Outdoors into a Gym.” Fitness Magazine, Fitness Magazine, 6 May 2013,
  3. “Skip The Gym: Health Benefits Of Outdoor Exercise.” The Huffington Post,, 17 June 2013,
  4. Stephenson, Marissa. “Why Outdoor Exercise Rules.” SELF, SELF, 16 Sept. 2016,
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