Since the coronavirus outbreak, many of us have started to venture outside more to meet our workout needs. And even though most fitness centres have now opened up again, many still feel the lure of warm days, and long evenings - choosing to continue breaking a sweat outdoors rather than indoors.
But how does this affect your fitness goals? Is one method of training really better than the other? Here we explore the pros and cons of training indoors and outdoors, so that you can decide for yourself.
What’s the difference between training inside and outside?
There are benefits to each approach. With indoor training, we typically rely on gym machinery which allows us to perform a regular, and predictable workout routine. We are protected from the elements and have easy access to post work out facilities such as showers and changing rooms.
But what about when you take it outdoors? Lots of modern fitness equipment can be used both indoors and out - you can even take your boxing training equipment into the great outdoors should you so wish. This flexibility and freedom can promote spontaneous workouts with more diversity than standard fixed gym environments, working a greater range of muscle groups and keeping things fresh.
Benefits of training inside
When we train inside we can be in a predictable environment which helps us to progress our fitness in a graded way without any unexpected exposures - think 30-degree sunshine, torrential rain, or uneven ground.
We can often find safety in numbers with a PT on hand, a crew of like-minded folk, and a range of group classes that can help to motivate and inspire you in equal measure. Finally, built in, commercial gym equipment is standardised to allow you to specifically target one area of the body at a time, which can be hard to recreate outside.
Benefits of training outside
When training outside in a natural setting such as a park you’re guaranteed to get a good dose of nature – exposure to green, open spaces and wildlife can soothe the nervous system and mind, escaping the harsh artificial lighting some gyms have. If the sun is shining you can also get a dose of vitamin D too - which can help boost immune response and strengthen bones.
It is also so easy to take your training equipment with you, whether that be in the form of resistance bands, dumbbells, kettlebells or online workout classes - there is so much equipment to choose from making for a wide range of training options - for inspiration check out Sweatband.com’s collection of portable gym equipment here.
Cons of training inside
Some people are uninspired by the repetitive predictability of commercial gym workouts, and instead crave the variety of an outdoor terrain with different scenery and weather conditions – especially as many want to gain the benefit of breathing in fresh air when working out and completing cardio sessions..
There is also a risk of getting too focused on one part of the body during an isolated workout plan, rather than focusing on a whole-body approach such as during a dynamic outdoor pursuit.
Cons of training outside
The main con of outdoor training is the weather. We don’t have the most reliable of climates, and therefore you may end up skipping your workout due to undesirable weather conditions. Similarly, we have to be careful to avoid the physical threat of extreme weather states- including hypothermia in the winter and heatstroke in the summer.
Also, the unpredictable nature of uneven terrain can lead to greater energy expenditure and an overall more challenging environment. For some people, the fear of being alone in the great outdoors can make them feel uncomfortable, and for others, it simply isn’t practical to transport fitness equipment, however portable, to their outdoor location of choice.
Is it better to train indoors or outdoors?
Overall there are clear advantages to each form of training. We now have the ability to carry with us lightweight and well-designed workout equipment to use anywhere, and anytime, making full use of the natural environment around us. You can take your boxing training outside or even your HIIT or circuit training class.
That being said, there are still particular benefits of using commercial gym gear to get specific effects that are hard to achieve elsewhere, especially when it comes to having guidance and support for your fitness journey and using specific fitness equipment designed to deliver specific outcomes.
As with most things in life, a combination of both approaches tends to yield the best results and overall fitness benefits for most people. Ultimately, the best gym equipment is designed to be used inside and out depending on how you feel, and of course the weather forecast. Check out Sweatband products here.