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Indoor vs. Outdoor Exercise

July 14, 2011

Whether you exercise in the comfort of your own home, a gym or prefer to be outdoors, there are important considerations between indoor and outdoor workouts that you should be aware about.  Your physical therapist will be able to design an exercise program with enough variation to keep you healthy and motivated throughout summer….

Advantages of exercising indoors:

  • Climate control: Most people choose to exercise indoors to escape extreme temperatures and humidity.
  • Environment control: Accidents can happen anywhere, but the risk of injury decreases with indoor equipment.
  • Intensity control: Machines like the treadmill, elliptical and bicycle allow you to modify your speed, incline/level and duration of exercise. In addition;

● These machines can also lower the impact on your feet, knees, hips and spine. This is something outdoor trails cannot always provide.

● Most aerobic machines are equipped with heart rate monitors, which help you determine the intensity of your workout. If you are unsure of how high or low your heart rate should be while exercising, call us for more information.

● Precise muscle targeting: Several machines in a gym can help to strengthen certain muscle groups of the body (like quadriceps or biceps) and allow you to restore muscle imbalance.

Taking it outdoors:  

When the weather’s great, sunshine can do wonders for a workout. Exercises like swimming, walking, running, cycling, or playing sports (like soccer, basketball, tennis and golf) with your friends and family is a wonderful way to challenge your muscles. Sunlight is good for your skin and tends to uplift the mind and body.

When comparing outdoor walking with walking on a treadmill, here are some differences you may not be aware of:

● Outdoor walking challenges your balance and stability.

● Slopped sidewalks and roads challenge your balance.

● Curbs and steps challenge stability and strength.

● There may be several sudden starts and stops with people or traffic lights, for which you work your muscles in a different way by coming to a complete stop, then starting again from zero.

● Dodging people, their children and their pets will help challenge a side-to-side motion as well as forward motion.

  • Exposure to sunlight is an easy way for you to get your daily dose of Vitamin D and some fresh air. Remember to always wear sunscreen when exercising in the sun.
  • Being outdoors can also give you a chance you have social or family gatherings while combining physical activity.

Walk along a nearby park or beach, or ride a bicycle at a park or your favorite trail. The sounds of nature can be quite healing and offer you a peaceful experience unlike an indoor workout. Take your family to the park and try doing some jumping jacks or jump rope while your kids are on the monkey bars. Take advantage of the wide-open space and quiet moments this summer.

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