>U Mom Knows Best: Gym vs Exercising Outdoors ~ Which Is Better

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Gym vs Exercising Outdoors ~ Which Is Better

Which is a better workout-the gym or outdoor exercise?



  If I had to choose between running outside or working out on a cardio machine at the gym, it would depend on many factors. If you had asked me that question, a year ago, I would have said running outside. I used to think that running outside was the best form of exercise for me and that I would never join a gym. Well, never say never. I joined a gym about 2 years ago as my husband's work offered a free gym membership with certain health insurance plans. The health insurance plans all cost the same so it was a work perk that my husband could not pass on.

A free gym membership changed my mind

  So, since the gym membership was free and that we could get a gym membership at many different gyms, I signed up for my free gym membership at several gyms. I may have signed up at 4 different gyms but I really only visit 2 of the gyms. I have never even worked out in one of the gyms that I have a membership to, as I have heard that it is way too crowded. Another gym, I signed up for as it was brand new and I just wanted to check it out. Of the 4 gyms that I have memberships too, I really use only 2 of them for different reasons. One gym, that is far away from my house has a swimming pool and hot tub along with all the standard gym equipment. So I visit that gym when I want to relax in the water. The other gym, the one that I visit the most is really close to my house. This gym is my favorite for many reasons. This gym is smaller but is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. This gym also has individual TVs on all the cardio exercise machines. It is also my husband's preferred gym as it is near his bus stop. So he can get off the bus, after work, and head straight to the gym for his exercise.


Gym Fitness Training vs Outdoor Fitness Training ~ each has pros and cons

  I really don't think the gym workout is better than outdoor fitness training. Nor do I think that outdoor exercise is better than the gym workout. Both types of fitness styles have their pros and cons. I also like each type of workout style for different reasons. It did take me a while to adjust to a gym workout as I was used to running and walking outside. At first, I felt that the gym fitness training on the cardio machines, like the treadmill and elliptical, was too easy when compared to running. Then there was the boredom factor that the gym gave me as I was used to a changing scenery when I workout outside. So I am going to give my reasons for what I think each type of workout environment is good and bad. Your opinions may differ from what mine do.

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Outdoor Fitness Training



  For as long as I can remember, I have been an outdoor fitness person as I thought that a gym membership was not worth the money. I did have a gym membership when I was young and single as I was fresh out of college and living at home. So I had the money. I only had the gym membership for a year though. So being that I later did not have the money for a gym membership and I had kids, working outside was easier and cheaper for me. When my kids were little, my exercise was fast walking with a stroller. Then as the kids got older, it was them on bikes and me running to keep up with them.


The positive of outdoor fitness training


 Most outdoor exercise forms are completely free as you don't have to shell out money for a gym membership. Sure you have to buy exercise clothes and fitness shoes but those are things that you would buy for working out at the gym. Most people prefer the outdoors to a treadmill, as the constantly changing backdrop fights boredom. When I run outdoors, I have many different directions and routes that I can explore. I get a longer workout when outside as I am not looking at the clock like I do at the gym. So I crank up the music and run. When I start getting bored, I can't quit my exercise as I have to turn around and head back home. When I workout outside, I can include the kids so I don't have to pay for a babysitter. This is the perfect time to let older kids ride their bikes and younger kids can be pushed in the stroller. There are many ways that you can exercise while outdoors. Speed walking, running, jogging, bicycling, and rock climbing as just some of the outdoor exercise types. You can combine exercise with errands.

 Most outdoor exercise activities like running and walking give you a high impact workout which is good for your bones. You are expending more energy than you would on a machine. “You’re getting more muscle activation outside because your feet have to grab the ground to propel you." Your muscles also get better conditioned as you are not using them is the same repetition motion as you do on a machine. You are hopping over curbs, turning corners, and maybe even going up hills.



The sun can lift your mood and the fresh air can do the same. Exercising outdoors can even give your body some vitamin D which is also good for your health. For me, personally, I am less sweaty when I run outside as the air keeps me drier. I live in the desert so this may not be the same if you live where there is humidity.

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 The disadvantages of outdoor fitness
  As with any activity involving the great outdoors, you're limited by the seasons and extremities if you defer to outdoor fitness training. It can be too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. The rain or snow can also get in the way of your best exercise plan. Then there may be days of strong winds that can make it seem colder in the winter. The limited daylight in the winter months may also prevent people from outdoor workouts, as it's often been dark for hours by the time many get home from work. You may live in a town that may not be safe to go running at certain times of the day. Then there may be air quality issues like smoke or smog that may prevent you from exercising outdoors. If you live in a busy city, the sidewalks may be too crowded to get a fast workout into your day. There is also the issue of applying sunscreen when you get outdoor fitness as you still need to wear mineral-based sunscreen in the winter.

 You may have kids who don't cooperate with your outdoor workouts which may make it stressful for you. You need to check out these Best Workout Tips For Stay At Home Moms as you may find some creative ways to get your daily exercise in when you have kids at home. Others like my husband may find outdoor exercise boring and lonely as they don't have anyone to talk to or inspire them to exercise. So you may be the person who is motivated by watching others working out and may need help with tips on how to sneak in a workout on a busy day.

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Gym Fitness Training


 Once I started meeting my husband a couple times a week, I started getting used to the gym as a way to get fitness. Sure at first the gym workout was boring to me and too easy when compared to my outdoor running. Since my husband was finally exercising, I forced myself to workout at the gym and learned to make the best of my time at the gym. I tried out the different gym machines for a cardio workout and settle on two cardio machines for a HIIT workout as I wanted an intense workout. I learned how to get an effective workout by increasing the speed and upping the level on the machine. The gym machines that I favor are the elliptical and the lateral cross-trainer. I tried running on the treadmill but since it was a different running form, it gave me shin splints. I also did not like working out on the rower as it was boring. The rowing machine did not have a TV connected to it like the other cardio gym equipment did.

The positive of gym fitness training


 Most gyms offer a variety of workout equipment and ways to exercise. So many health clubs also offer an abundance of fitness classes from yoga and pilates, to strength classes, spin classes, cross-fit all the way to fun aerobic dancing classes. There are also gyms that have swimming pools. Gyms also offer personal trainers to help motivate you to exercise.

 Then if you are looking to increase your muscles and strength, gyms also have plenty of weightlifting equipment as well as kettlebells and other unique types of weights. My gym even has TRX straps and free weights like barbells so those looking to build muscle might be more drawn to the indoor brand of exercise.


 The gym has a wide of machines for a cardio workout like treadmills, rowers, upright bikes, recumbent bikes, stair climbers, and more. So if you are easily bored you can switch from one type of cardio to another. Most gyms have TV sets and some even offer movie screens so you can be entertained while getting the fitness in.

 You are not dependant on the weather or the daylight when you workout. So the gym is my preferred place to burn the fat when it is too cold or hot outside. The gym is also a safe place to get a run in on the treadmill as you don't have to worry about someone attacking you.

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The disadvantages of  gym exercise

 The main problem with gyms for most people can be the expense of a gym membership. Sure those low monthly fees and gym perks like hair cuts can make a gym seem like a reasonable expense for getting your body healthy. Just make sure to add it all up before signing up for a membership to a gym and make sure you are committed to regular visits. Then check around and find a health club that meets your needs, budget, and travel time. I recommend a gym close to your home or work as that will make it easier to visit the gym more regularly. A gym is a great investment for a healthy heart if you utilize it to get your fitness

 Other cons to the gym are they can be crowded at certain times of the day and you might have to wait to use gym equipment. Gyms may be loud and the smell of sweaty bodies. Sure sweating is healthy but some people may stink bad as they forgot to wear their deodorant or need to use an armpit detox. Then there is the germ factor of the gym that some people can't get used to as they use way too many sanitizing wipes to clean off the sweat from the other gym buff. The way I look at is, you are going to take a shower after your workout so unless there is visible sweat on the gym equipment, it does not need intensive cleaning with a chemical wipe that is worse for your body to touch. Some gyms may have limited hours so you may not be able to get that 4 am work out in if you are an early morning fitness person or visit the gym at midnight when you want to relax in the hot tub. Yes, I have gone to the gym late at night for a hot tub soak. It was so relaxing and the hot tub was empty. The hot soak felt good and helped me to fall asleep better when I got home.


It is all a matter of preference

 I think that each type of fitness location is choosing what works best for you. The gym fitness option has both benefits and things that one may not like while the same can be said for exercising outside. You choose the option that you like that is going to work to get you motivated to workout. I tend to use a combination of both the gym and running outside. I am glad that I have both options available to me as then I can work out in the way I need to for the day. My current workout schedule for the winter has been very flexible as I have to adjust for the cold weather. I have been visiting the gym three days a week for my weight lifting routine and then doing my cardio workout 2 days at the gym so I can meet my husband there when he gets off work. Then I run three days a week outside.

 In the summer I may visit the gym more if the weather is too hot to run outside. I like having a gym membership, especially when it is free. If I had to pay for a gym membership, I probably would not choose that option and just workout at home when the weather is uncooperative. I am glad that I live close to the gym as I can walk there. Soon they are opening another branch of the gym with the pool, closer to my house so I am excited to be able to use the swimming pool and hot tub more often. This gym also will have bike spin classes so I might have to try a couple classes.

Do you workout at the gym or outside?



46 comments:

  1. I personally cannot stand gyms. Even the sight of a dumbbell makes me feel strange. I guess it is because of the strange sweaty smell...

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  2. Personally I always do indoor exercise, I believe that personally helps me stay more focused.

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  3. It's the outdoor exercise for me. I jog around the neighborhood. Or I've lifted some weights indoors. I'm not a fan of gyms. Too many stinky people.

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  4. I prefer indoor. Wisconsin weather is so out of control there's very little time in which the weather is okay to exercise in. Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us!

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  5. It depends on so many things. For example, if it's cold outside I will definitely go to the gym :)

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  6. I prefer to mix it up. I particularly like working out outside this time of year (jogging when it's cold, or going for a walk. When the temps become cold and I want to lift or whatever, I prefer indoors.

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  7. I like to do a little of both. On a nice day, I love to get out and enjoy nature. On a horrible day, I love my treadmill with built-in TV at the gym. LOL

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  8. I hadn't thought about the potential benefits of exercising outdoors. I definitely think the Vitamin D makes a big difference.

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  9. I recently cancelled my gym membership. I prefer to walk multiple times a day outside.

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  10. I love to run outside and and avoid tread mills at all costs but I also enjoy my strength training days. I am also a huge Peloton fan. I like to mix it up.

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  11. I love to do outdoor exercising the most. It's nice to get outdoors in the fresh air. I love it!

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  12. I like exercising outdoors. That touch with nature is unique, but the problem is the weather. If it's raining or too cold I know for sure that I won't exercise outdoors. I need a lil bit of both.

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  13. those are great tips. i'll have to show my daughter as she's always looking for more tips for working out.

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  14. I think it depends on the person. I prefer to work out indoors because I don't like the heat.

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  15. I am most consistent with indoor exercise. I guess I don't like to look like I struggle in public.

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  16. I love a good bike ride, jog or vigorous walk outside in gorgeous weather. However for me, I am way more motivated to exercise when someone is leading a group fitness class. I love my instructors at my Y. The membership is totally worth it.

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  17. Love the post! I love exercise both ways, and go after what I feel like.

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  18. I love going to they gym because the weather here can be too hot or rainy, and I don't want that to be an excuse that keeps me from exercising. There are some classes at the gym as well, like zumba and salsanation, which makes it more fun and motivating. ~ Ola

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  19. I think it really depends on the person and/or their mood. Also it snows where I am so I go to the gym then.

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  20. I think I prefer the gym. It's easier to concentrate and to do my workout exercises.

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  21. I like a mix of both. I like the gym for when its cold but a walk outside can be fun too!

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  22. When I lived in a cold climate, a gym membership was a must. And I used it every single day. When I lived in Arizona, I hiked daily and didn't really need a gym membership until I decided I wanted to become a better swimmer, so I joined a gym with a pool. Now that I live in Florida, I prefer to exercise outside.

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  23. I love the fresh air outdoors when the weather is good. But I do exercise a home during winter.

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  24. As a year round allergy sufferer, I never enjoy the outdoors. I found a gym membership was the best way for me to work out.

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  25. I am an outdoor person I always join the gym and never stick to it.

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  26. I think what's important is to keep moving! I don't like working out in the cold, but you need to do what you have fun doing!

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  27. Honestly to keep moving is what really matters. Perhaps getting a gym membership to visit during winter days would be an option.

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  28. I prefer doing things outside like walking, hiking and cycling. Being an introvert I need to spend time in nature to refresh my soul and sometimes even sing. I cannot really accomplish that in a gym.

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  29. I prefer the gym but it's all up to personal preference. Keeping moving is definitely the most important.

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  30. I love doing physical activities outside! Hiking, biking, stand up paddling, etc... The gym is also good because it has some awesome classes like spin!!! Great things about both!!

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  31. I have to admit I definitely prefer climate controlled indoors to outdoors the vast majority of the time.

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  32. I think this is all about a person preferences and comfort. I want to be an outdoor runner, but I don't like it. I also don't really like the gym. I like to swim though and take long long walks. I think it's important to not give up and keep it going, no matter in what environment.

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  33. I'm one who can't seem to exercise in front of anyone for some reason. I always choose the heat or cold to exercise outdoor versus an indoor gym, lol.

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  34. i think it depends on the mood and the environment.

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  35. I have a gym membership that I don't always use. I think that the key is to set a fitness schedule, whether you exercise outside or at a gym. You have to commit yourself to going on x days at x times. If you don't find the time every week and make yourself go, you will not work out.

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  36. I definitely prefer outdoor exercise, but it's just too cold and snowy here for that to be a possibility in the winter. So, a gym membership it is for me. I find that switching it up depending on the season really helps me stay focused and motivated. By the time I start to get really bored of working out indoors, it warms up and it feels fresh and exciting to work out outside again!

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  37. I don't like feeling hot and sweaty, so I prefer to go to a gym. I can bathe right away or if I choose to get into the pool.

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  38. Although I would like to play sports outside the house, in the end I prefer to do it indoors

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  39. I do a combination of gym workouts, at home workouts and outside workouts. When I lived in a cold climate, I relied on the gym for my daily exercise. I loved the camaraderie. Now that I live in Florida most of the year, I do most of my workouts outside because the weather is so great. I'm in New Hampshire for the summer and think I will do a lot of outdoor workouts here too!

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  40. I still belong to my gym (which I used to prefer) which has been closed since March because of the pandemic. Now I'm afraid to go back when they do open up, so have been working out outside since it's a lot safer, healthwise.

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  41. I used be a regular member at gym since 2009 to 2017 but then stopped due to a major accident. I excercise outside and there is no doubt that fresh air outside is superior to the recycled air you breathe inside of a building. Fresh air will even give you more energy. Just 20 minutes of working out outside is equivalent to drinking one cup of coffee in terms of its energy-boosting effects.

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  42. These are really awesome tips! I like to run outdoors but sometimes it feels good to exercise in the gym.

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  43. I love exercising outdoor when I am visiting the suburb, because the roads where I live are very busy with cars and motorcycles, meaning that I would not be able to breath "fresh air" when running. :'(

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  44. Now that every thing has changed because of Covid minimizing outside exposure and also going to the gym. But, going out for a breath of fresh air.

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  45. Well this is really amazing and interesting comparison..i personally will prefer outdoor exercising over gym..But this was really very informative and inspiring..Thanks for sharing..Great work...

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  46. Where I am they gyms aren't fully open yet. For me and at least this summer, I will exercise outdoors or in my home.

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