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Wind In Your Face

It is that time of year again to get back into running and after not being out in the fresh air for some time due to the abysmal British weather, now is a time when I have to push myself to get out and feel the wind in my face.
While the allure of the gym with its climate-controlled settings and convenient location is the obvious choice for most runners, especially in winter, science suggests there are more benefits to exercising outdoors that cannot be replicated on a treadmill, bicycle or a track.
You stride differently when running outdoors, for one thing. Generally, studies find, people flex their ankles more when they run outside. They also, at least occasionally, run downhill, a movement that is not easily done on a treadmill and that stresses muscles differently than running on flat or uphill terrain. Outdoor exercise tends, too, to be more strenuous than the indoor version. Comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of running outside, treadmill runners expend less energy to cover the same distance as those striding across the ground outside, primarily because indoor exercisers face no wind resistance or changes in terrain, no matter how subtle.
The same dynamic has been shown to apply to cycling, where wind drag can result in much greater energy demands during 25 miles of outdoor cycling than the same distance on a stationary bike. That means if you have limited time and want to burn as many calories as possible, you should hit the road instead of the gym.

yevko

But there seem to be other, more ineffable advantages to getting outside to work out. In a number of recent studies, volunteers have been asked to go for two walks for the same time or distance, one inside, usually on a treadmill or around a track, the other outdoors. In virtually all of the studies, the volunteers reported enjoying the outside activity more and on subsequent psychological tests, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked outside.
Of course, those studies were small-scale, short-term and only done from two walks. But a study last year of older adults found, objectively, that those who exercised outside exercised longer and more often than those working out indoors. Specifically, the researchers asked men and women 66 or older about their exercise habits and then fitted them all with electronic gadgets that measured their activity levels for a week. The gadgets and the survey showed that the volunteers who exercised outside, usually by walking, were significantly more physically active than those who exercised indoors, completing, on average, about 30 minutes more exercise each week than those who walked or otherwise exercised indoors.
So now all I have to do is get that start off motivation rolling and then the rest should be plain sailing, or in my case, plain running.